Whether it be a relationship with a significant other, on the job or simply a social setting with friends; the desired outcome of any conversation is hinged upon two variables: communication & expectations. Personally, this is a mantra that I live by in every aspect of my life with any given relationship; so don’t be surprised if you hear me talking about it one day in passing.
With so many means of communication at our disposal, its very easy to misconstrue what someone is trying to say. You might get a text message and finding yourself wondering “Is he getting an attitude with me?” Who knows! (No offense ladies.) This is why it is so important to not only communicate but to do so effectively and to manage your expectations based upon the agreed topic of discussion within the conversation. Let’s take this example:
Your girlfriend says “I want to go on a nice vacation.” The guy replies “Sure. Let’s do it. When do you want to go?” She says “Sometime in July.” Easy enough, right? Well a couple of months go by and the girlfriend is excited about the trip and asks “So where are we going?!” *Drum roll please…..* “Emerald Pointe!” the guy replies emphatically! By the look on her face it is clear that she had something a lot different in mind. So let’s see what went wrong with this picture. For starters, how effective and thorough was the communication? Looked like a 30 second convo if you ask me. So, due to the communication gap, the girlfriend was giving nothing by which to manage her expectations, leaving her imagination free to run wherever it takes her. Not to mention setting her up for one big disappointment and probably an argument How could this have turned out differently?
Let’s go back to the beginning: Girlfriend says “I want to go on a nice vacation.” Guy replies the same as before, “Sure, when do you want to go?” She then says “Late July,” only this time, the guy replies “Sounds good, did you have any place in mind?” The girl tells him that she would love nothing more than to go to an all inclusive resort in Cancun. With this enhanced level of communication Mr. Emerald Pointe can let her know then and there that Cancun may or may not be possible. Maybe Cancun is out of his budget but they can go to Virginia Beach. It’s not Cancun, but certainly not a water park in Greensboro, NC. So as a result of this, the girl is able to manage her expectations accordingly and not be disappointed. Rather she can embrace the reality and make the most of it.
This may seem like common knowledge, but how many times have you ordered something from a restaurant and they bring out something that isn’t exactly what you ordered, or you’re suppose to meet someone at a certain place and time you get your wires crossed and you are in two different locations? Moral of the story is, if it can happen with something as small as messing up your order, what effect could the lack of effective communication and the managing of expectations have on a marriage? A business? A friendship? It may take a little more effort, but take the time to thoroughly communicate in any given situation – allowing everyone involved to manage their expectations accordingly. If it requires you to pick up the phone instead of text, or walk down the hall instead of email, do it. It will be worth it in the end.