Would it be so hard to just give a straight answer? Anyone else ever think that way? I certainly do.
When I think that way, I generally feel frustrated, hurt, or disappointed. While it’s important to give myself space to feel those feelings, I know that the only way to change my feelings is to change my own thinking.
That’s right. No one controls my feelings. They are my own, and I own them. So how do I do that?
When feeling something I would rather not, I get curious. Those feelings tell me something’s missing. What do I need?
If my need is for a closer connection, understanding, or support, I consider what those things look like to me. Then I can be clear about my experience and make a request. Saying, “you don’t get it” or “you’re not answering me,” will likely not get me the understanding or connection I need. Expressing that I need understanding and what that looks like for me creates clarity.
By sharing thoughts and feelings openly, I increase the level of authenticity. However, I remain mindful that no person has a responsibility for my feelings. (Notice the difference between “I feel…” and “you make me feel…)
I also get curious about what someone else needs. What is he experiencing? What does she need? What are they feeling?
Of course, each member of a relationship gets to decide what he, she, or they are willing to do. The more people share openly, the more people understand and connect. Thinking someone else is not clear, causes me to pause and ask whether I am communicating clearly. Have I clearly expressed my feelings and/or needs?
Wishing someone would give a more definite answer simply signifies that my need for clarity has yet to met. It does not make either person good or bad or right or wrong. It calls for further dialogue. I may make the choice to ask for that clarity with quality open-ended questions, or not.
If one person in the relationship approaches conversations differently, the relationship changes. When feeling stuck, it helps to see how I may lean in with more clarity, compassion, and curiosity.
Would you like to feel closer to your spouse, partner, family, or friends? Sign up for Communicating for Couples, Creating Connective Communications, or another on-line class. It’s not always easy, yet it may be more simple when you learn just a few new tools.