Monday, January 5, 2009

Say what you mean, mean what you say

A lot of times we lose sight of what it is that we are actually trying to do, or obtain. We start off with an idea as to what we want, but are easily distracted and find ourselves on a totally different path. Many times this is a direct result of not saying what we mean and meaning what we say. Let me give you an example of a conversation between two friends:

John get’s tickets to go see a basketball game.
John: “Hey it’s been such a long time since we have had a chance to get together and I thought you might want to go to the Heat game”.
Paul: “ I would love to go, but I can’t”
John: “Why can’t you?”
Paul: “I have things I need to do after work today.”
John: “Common, we hardly get a chance to do stuff like this since you got married and this is a perfect opportunity”
Paul: “ I really can’t and it’s not my fault we never do things anymore, this is the first time you’ve asked.”
John: “I called you last week and you never answered the phone.”
Paul: “Did you leave a message?”
John: “Hey, whatever, I was just calling to invite you to a Heat game, but I can see that was a mistake.”
Paul: “ Yeah maybe it was, but I never asked you to call.”

Both hang up frustrated and upset. These types of conversations can sometimes go on for hours, as they spin out of control, losing their original intent. Upon further review, I think the truth of the situation would be.
John had tickets and wanted to go to the game with someone. Paul may or may not have been his first choice but what John wanted was company.
Paul can’t go and should just say that. By adding that he would love to go, he opens the door to John’s insistence. Then he is forced to explain and begins to feel pressured.
Now the conversation loses its original intent and John starts to attack Paul with a guilt trip.
Paul becomes defensive.
John get’s equally defensive.
Conversation breaks down and both are upset.

John should be honest with himself. He should know going into the conversation, what it is he is looking for. He wanted someone to go to the game with. If he would of focused on that goal he may have been able to convince his friend. Instead he started to believe his own story. He believed that he was such a great friend to think of Paul. Before long he lost sight of what he wanted to achieve and his focus shifted. Now the focus was all about what kind of a friend he was or who's fault it was they never did things anymore. In the end, frustrated and upset, he goes to the game alone.

So here I go, I am going to say what I mean and mean what I say. Get to the point, humble yourself and ask the question. Nobody believes your backdoor B.S. anyway. You have a much better chance being happy and getting what you want, if you just ask for it.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I hadn't been on in a few days, but I must say that I really enjoyed reading the last 3 posts. Regarding this one in particular, I couldn't agree more. The whole "not saying what you mean" happens a lot when someone asks you for a favor. The bottom line is either - yes or no. But sometimes we find ourselves adding excuses, making conditions, etc - maybe out of guilt? - and it usually just complicates things.

Alex said...

Complicating things is the key. The key to Pandora's box.