Lydia wasn’t too happy in her relationship. Lately, she experienced some challenges at work and was keen to discuss these with Andrew, her boyfriend. But whenever she started to talk about it, it felt as if he switched off. She wondered if he actually cared and what made it worse that he responded with irritation. She felt judged and dismissed.
Andrew wasn’t too happy is his relationship. Lately, his sparkly girlfriend Lydia had turned into a talking tape recorder, playing the same track again and again. He had suggested to her to make a decision about her situation at work, but she didn’t do that. She just talked about it. He felt annoyed that she allowed herself to be used at work and didn’t stand up for herself.
Interesting, isn’t it?
The same situation, two interpretations leading to misunderstanding and arguments
Lydia is focused on the process. She needs time to get ready for a decision and talking it through will help her to get there.
Andrew is focused on the solution. He can see from the outside what will benefit her and doesn’t understand why she doesn’t take action.
How to cope with misunderstanding
Once they understood how they both took a different approach, it was easier to support each other.
Lydia decided to talk to her girlfriends and family about her situation instead of bombarding Andrew and using him to help her process.
Andrew decided to accept that even though it didn’t look like Lydia was standing up for herself, that she was actually very focused on finding a solution. But she needed more time.
How to communicate effectively and avoid misunderstanding
- Determine what the focus is of each individual.
- Is it process or solution?
- Never assume, check out what is going on
- Respect and allow space for each other
- Ask for what you need and be prepared to not get it. Andrew couldn’t support Lydia in the way she needed, so she now looks for it elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with that.
- Be honest
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