Friday, January 26, 2018

Do You Repeat Yourself a Lot? This Technique Might Help!

I've stumbled upon a mind-blowing, stress reducing, and truly life-changing communication technique! This may prove especially useful when communicating with the males in your family, and though that might seem sexist, the reality is that this was borne out of my frustrations communicating with my husband and son. 

Here's what a normal conversation used to look like in our home:

Me: Do you need me to pick up your prescription after I run my errands later?
Husband (responding almost instantaneously):  What?
Me: Do you need me to pick up your prescription after I run my errands later?

And here's a common one with my son:

Me: Have you watered the plants yet?
Son(responding almost instantaneously)What?
Me: Have you watered the plants yet?

After years of operating this way, I finally got sick of repeating myself and feeling like my boys have become selectively hearing-impaired. It's exasperating!

One day, in my exasperation, I summoned my inner Dalai Lama and found the value of pausing...waiting...silence. I decided it was time to give up my 'echo'.

Our conversations then started looking more like this: 

Me: Do you need me to pick up your prescription after I run my errands later? / 
      Have you watered the plants yet?

Husband/Son (responding almost instantaneously):  What?


Husband: Oh, no, it's ok. I already picked it up last night. 
Son: Not yet, Mama. I'll do it now.

I felt victorious over their selective impairment and I confirmed that it was all because they've gotten so used to my willingness to repeat myself that it's become a knee-jerk reaction for them to say 'What?'. Instead of truly listening to me, they've found it's just easier to ask for my echo, which would always inevitably come.

But now, I just wait for them to catch up. I give it a 3-5 minute pause and 98% of the time, they respond accordingly without me having to expend unnecessary energy in repeating myself. Of course there have been those very rare moments when they honestly didn't hear or understand me and that's perfectly fine. But at least now, I'm feeling like I'm approaching them with more patience as I wait for them to process and realize on their own what I just said. They're not stupid, nor deaf. Actually, I'm doing them a favor now by treating them like the smart males that they are, fully capable of comprehension and piecing together what they've just heard, even though they THINK they didn't hear. I'm giving them more credit than they give themselves! (Yes boys, you're welcome!)

I know this is part male brain wiring, part getting used to tuning me out. I can't change the former, so now I'm just training them to tune me back in. Once I find a way to train my boys how to read my mind so that things just get done automatically, I promise to let you know!

Let me know if this happens to you too, and even with female members of the family! I suspect this is not gender-specific, but a condition triggered in others by mothers.

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