Friday’s blog a private peek – and I wannatellyoualittlestory…
Communication. We all communicate differently. Some of us are direct, some of us speak in inference. Some of us hear literally, some of us read between the lines. Please allow me to expound…
If my Mum says “Would you like a cup of tea?” she is usually poised in the kitchen by the kettle, and is offering to make a cup of tea for you.
If I say to Dave,“Do you fancy a cup of tea?” what I am usually saying in fact, is “I would like a cup of tea, and I would like you to make it darling!”
Question: Would you like to go to the cinema?
Barb: I’m a bit tired, really.
That, in a nutshell, is the essence of emitting and receiving messages. I studied this kind of stuff when we did psycholinguistics. Find it fascinating – especially when observing others.
So the other evening, Mum and I were in a medical consultant’s surgery; she needs a hip replacement, you see, and we are going through the admissions process. Whenever Mum speaks, she is very direct. There is no inference, no loaded message, no hidden agenda. You can take the words that Mum utters, lay them out on the table – and that is EXACTLY what she means. (refer to WOULD YOU LIKE A CUP OF TEA? Analogy)
Picture the scene. Pleasant Indian surgeon, Mum and I. Mum is signing the consent form.
Mum: “Have you done many of these hip replacement operations?”
Doctor (clearly hears what my Mum has NOT said) “Excuse me?”
Mum “How many have you done of these? ”
Doctor (indignant tone) “I have been doing this operation for over 20 years!”
Barb cuts in quickly. “My Mum doesn’t speak in inference. She is asking a straight question.”
Doctor: “150 hips a year. 150 knees a year.”
Mum: “That’s a lot of work! Long hours I suppose.” She got the answer to her question. Simple.
But how quickly the Doctor went on the defence. It was text book! Here we have a clearly very educated Indian surgeon, who has probably spent a good portion of his professional life having to stand his ground and explain himself to white people with bad hips and knees. Then along comes this elderly German woman and Pow. Her innocent question feeds straight into his own history. He reads between the lines, and thinks she is disputing his qualification as a surgeon.
It was fascinating to see him relax (totally) as soon as he realised his misinterpretation, as soon as he understood that her question was pure. They went on to discuss her heritage, the second world war, how she ended up in England, why she married an Englishman. He was such a gentle man. And now Mum is no longer full of fear around the op.
“I trust you,” she said as she shook his hand when we were leaving. And she meant it.
Actually, I musttellyouanotherlittlestory…same thing.
Many many years ago, Mum and I were at a Pippa Dee party. Remember them? Showing my age now!! You’d go to a neighbour’s house and there would be a load of nighties and negligees hanging on a rack in the living room. Then the ladies would pick a few things, go in the changing room (which was usually the spare bedroom), then come down and give all the others a twirl. I will never forget this one. A particularly large lady with huge boobs picked a very skimpy red baby doll off the rack, and went in the other room to try it on.
Few minutes later, she waltzed into the lounge where we were all sitting, wearing this flimsy little red number, did a pirouette and poised in the middle of the room. “What d’ya think?” (use your imagination here)
MY MUM ( you have to read this out in a strong German accent):
“No, no, no darling. It looked better on the hanger.”
And she meant it. She didn’t mean what anything else, except that it-looked-better-on-the-hanger. The poor chick in the red baby doll wilted like a flower.
What about you? Have a think. Do you speak in inference? Or are you direct, like my darling Mum? Do you read between the lines? Do you hear what people don’t say? It’s easy to do.
Love & Hugs,