I had an interesting exchange with my wife the other day. The topic is not what you think, that was total click baiting…sorry. But, since you are here already, maybe you should stay and read this anyway, as I think there is an important lesson in this little story of mine.
According to my wife, I have a tendency to ask her things in a manner that is contrary to what she would prefer. Now, before you condemn her for this comment, let me explain. Her example was this:
Me: Honey, can you come here for a second?
Me: I need you to help me with something.
Her: What do you need my help with?
Me: Come here so I can show you.
From my point of view, I should not need to explain to her in advance. I am asking her to do something, and she (in my opinion) should just comply. From her perspective, she wants details on what I need before she takes action. It’s not that she is unwilling to assist me, she just wants to know in advance what she is going to be doing.
Here is the thing…neither one of us is right.
This is a study in communication style. I am not the smartest person I know (I’m on the list, just not at the top) but I am smart enough to recognize an area in which I could improve our level of communication. We have an awesome marriage, and literally zero arguments about things. But, there is always room for improvement. And in all honesty, I get a little frustrated when we have these exchanges, but I could easily resolve that in advance by changing my communication style.
We all speak a different language to some degree. It’s not as obvious as English and Spanish, but the subtle differences on how we say things, hear things, and interpret things is what I am referring to. It appears I want people to take my word for things, trust me implicitly, and not question me when I say something. There is absolutely some truth to that; but that doesn’t mean that I am right or can expect that. I think as a coach for such a large part of my life, I am used to giving guidance, making a statement or in some cases barking orders, and not getting questioned. As delightful as that sounds, I don’t deserve that luxury any more than anyone else does.
For her, she is a planner by nature. She wants to do things in advance to be ready for upcoming events. She wants details about anything she is going to do; she looks up the menu at a restaurant BEFORE WE GET THERE, just so she knows what she is going to order later. This is not something I have ever done, or will ever do for that matter. In my lifetime, I have only ever been to one restaurant that didn’t have something I would eat. I’ll take my chances, thanks.
The takeaway from this is that you need to learn your partner’s language, AND THEN SPEAK IN IT. This is true for everyone you interact with, but the good news is you can practice it every day at home…