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Guess What

23 Aug

When we talk to others and interact with them, we make judgments about what they say, who they are, and how they feel about us. We interpret their body language, the tone of their voice, and the phrases they use. Sometimes we understand the situation clearly and are able to effectively move forward from there. But because we’re dealing with assumptions based on our interpretations and not facts, we might guess wrong. And sometimes what we’ve assumed is not even close to what is real. When we try to interpret feelings, intentions, and meanings, we need to remember that we are only guessing. We may not, and probably don’t, have all the facts. Unfortunately, we sometimes act on our impressions, and make decisions based on them, and that can lead to problems and complications.

If we’re in a hurry, if we’re stressed, or we have a lot on our minds, we may sound irritated or angry when neither is the case. If we’re overwhelmed or distracted, we may sound bored. We might send out all kinds of mixed messages, and miscues. Instead of communicating clearly what is going on, we could send signals that infer the exact opposite of what we mean. It’s true for all of us. When we are talking with others, we may get an idea about how they’re feeling based on a misinterpreted response. And if we act on what we think is happening, we might get it wrong.

It’s important to clarify each situation before we make any decisions or move forward in any direction. We may ask the other party if what we think they are communicating is indeed what they meant to convey. In our own lives, if we think we’ve sent a confusing message, we can go back to those involved and explain the situation more clearly to be sure they know what we meant. Communication is the key. If we’re confused, we can ask for clarification, and we can offer the same. There is a lot of information being exchanged all the time. It’s important to take a moment to be sure what we think we saw, and what we think we heard was accurate.

Today if you feel confused about something someone said or did, ask for clarification. If you’ve been distracted and unclear in your message, be sure to explain it more carefully. Effective communication prevents a lot of complications and problems. That old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is true. Be proactive. Clarify your message and ask for clarification from others. It doesn’t take much to clear up confusion at the beginning. Do your part. The guessing game can only take you so far. Be sure you have the whole story before you proceed.

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