Breaking News Bar
posted: 2/17/2013 6:00 AM

Good timing, communication prevent misunderstandings

hello
Success - Article sent! close
 
 

It's a stock situation in every old TV sitcom. Rob and Laura (or Edith and Archie, or George and Louise) are in bed, near sleep. Suddenly, Laura turns over and asks, "Rob, are you asleep?"

Rob mumbles something unintelligible and Laura begins to pour out some deep kept secret. Finally, tearfully concluding her confession, she asks Rob if he still loves her.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Rob snores.

Oh boy! Laura hits him with her pillow and angrily turns off the light. Rob awakens the next morning to find himself in the middle of a war that he never knew was even declared.

That's good comedy. It's true to life. It is a scene played out in some variation time and time again between husband and wife, parent and child, brother and sister, or friends. People who really care about each other wind up hurting and being hurt for no good reason.

But then again, maybe there is a good reason.

The problem here is not so much what people do, but what they don't do. Let's go back to our TV show.

There is nothing wrong with Laura talking to Rob. She wants to share with her best friend some deep and important thoughts and feelings.

And, there's nothing wrong with Rob wanting to sleep. After all, that is what he went to bed for.

The misunderstanding comes when they try to do both at the same time. Let's play the scene back, but this time with a difference.

Laura: "Rob, are you asleep?"

Rob: "Huh?"

Laura: "Rob, I've got something really important to talk to you about. Can you wake up enough to listen, or would it be better if I waited until tomorrow?"

Rob: "Just a minute. It sounds important. Let me get a glass of water and wake up."

Laura: "Thanks, I really need to talk."

The difference here is that Laura took the time to tell Rob that she needed to talk, and Rob had a chance to respond.

Often, that's all it takes. Giving the other person a clear signal that you need their undivided attention will usually get it, or an agreement to spend some time talking later. Either way, you both win.

So, the next time you've got a deep subject that can't wait, wait. Wait long enough to give a clear signal that you need some time and some attention. You'll get both.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.