Message received – Loud and Clear?

Message received – Loud and Clear?

Hi there,

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.

Mum: No.

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,

Barb xxx

31 thoughts on “Message received – Loud and Clear?

  1. Hi Barb, very poignant blog post for me today, crying actually. This is me, all of us on the autistic spectrum actually, ALL THE TIME. Sadly I don’t have you, or anyone else, sitting by my side to step in most of the time, and even when I do have, those people tend to be getting me wrong, or not seeing that I don’t understand them, too… And people wonder why we end up being reclusive and scared of people… With our brains being wired differently we don’t have the ability to know/learn this inference thing you talk about. Love you xxx

  2. Pippa Dee!! That takes me back!! That really made me laugh – I said it in a German accent too! Lol. I think I am quite direct – maybe that is why people don’t like me!! Hey ho, their loss. I may be direct but I am also fiercely loyal and will defend my friends with my last breath. Xxxx

    1. Just as a matter of interest, Dawn, I, for one, do like you. When I first met you, I was a little nervous of you but soon realised what a very good friend you are. xxx Maggie (Silvercrafter)

  3. A very thought provoking blog today, Barbara. I think so many of us have been put down so many times in our lives that we are always somewhat on the defensive, expecting to be put down yet again. So we react before engaging our brains. It is called the “Chimp” effect, where our automatic defence mechanisms react to protect us before our real human thoughts can put it into perspective. My chimp effect does not usually go on the attack. Instead, it takes me deeper into myself to hide from further put downs. Incidentally, I always look forward to chatting with your lovely Mum at the Open Days. She treats us all as friends. I hope she will be there this year, and that her hip replacement goes really well for her. xxx Maggie (Silvercrafter)

  4. Hello Barbara

    Pippa Dee, takes me back to my mum. She had a whale of a time working for Pippa Dee going to people’s houses. My dad had to go to as she didn’t drive. On arrival, he always took over the hostess’s kitchen and did all the teas and coffees, lol.


  5. I’m on the flowery inference team struggle to say what I mean for fear of upsetting the Applecart. Causes problems with my son who in my view is direct almost to the point of rudeness in my mind. My mother was like him. In Yorkshire we say ‘she called a spade a shovel’

  6. I had to laugh at the cup of tea example. My husband assumes I’m being Barb, when I’m actually being your mum. Cue much backwards and forwards until we finally establish that neither of us wants a cup of tea! Hope your mum’s op goes well.

  7. What a thought provoking and memory jerking post. My best friend, who I met in 1973, when she moved in next door, had the most wonderful German mum, who sounds just like yours. The kindest lady, with a heart of gold, but straight to the point and no fools suffered, gladly or not!
    My friend was an area manager for Pippa Dee and recruited me to work for her, which I did for a couple of years, until we both, with our respective other halves, emigrated to South Africa. We are still friends and still laugh about those parties. Have a good weekend. Hugs. Annette X

  8. Oh my I forgot the Pippa Dee & Tupperware parties – happy days! I think people find me direct & a bit scary but I really am shaking in my boots.

  9. Oh I am definitely an Inference Girl, it drives Paul Nuts because he is a Direct speaker. I’ll say “the Bathrooms all need doing” and later on I will moan because he didn’t help me with them! He will say “but you didn’t ask me”!! He says “Just ask me and I will do it!!! I say “I did ask you”!!! Or “well no-one asks me to do it”?? Ha ha I have just spotted a little Circular trap door in our marriage! Does this mean it IS OK for me to just give him a long list of jobs? I will make up some stationary and instead of a To Do List I will call it a “This is me asking you list”!!!! Xx

  10. Must admit I can see why the doctor had that initial reaction, having been on the receiving end of prejudice and discrimination myself. I actually had talking therapy to help me get the tools to deal with it – many years ago.

    I am just the same as you Barb, do you fancy a cuppa means, stick the kettle on Pete!

    Good luck to your mum with the op. Had my first replacement when I was 30 and that one is still going strong. The other one has been done twice, but it wasn’t the actual replacement that wore out, making it necessary to revisit it. It was my bones. It takes time to get to a place where it starts to feel it belongs, but she will not regret getting it done.

  11. Evening Barbara.
    Loved reading your blog today. It’s quite thought provoking. I think I am a mixed up speaker… I sometimes speak direct and sometimes with inference. It depends on my mood and who I’m dealing with at the time.
    Your mum is such a good woman and I hope all goes well with her op. I’m sure it will.
    The whole blog reminded me of my dear grandad…. My mum’s dad. I used to follow that man round the garden when I was a kid. He was a strong man in more ways than one and he was a proper country man. He would take his dog and tramp round the fields of his friend’s farm or he’d sit for hours by the river fishing. But why your blog reminded me of him was that he was a very direct speaker. He never said anything unless it was the truth. Some people didn’t like it but you knew where you were with him. And if he said it you knew it was right. It brought me comfort thinking about him today especially.
    Anyway have a good evening and put your feet up a bit. Love and hugs Xxxx

  12. You are so right Barb, there are many ways to communicate. I am known to “say it how it is”. I tell the truth, not what people WANT to hear. With Tom, everything is black and white. He is very literal – drives me crazy sometimes 😂. Best of all is our Samuel… he speaks volumes, but with his eyes and his smile. I really can tell what he is saying sometimes! I have some great news too! His communication is coming on so well, that he chose the correct symbols for ‘yes’ and ‘no’, when asked a question by his teacher!! Way to go my Son 😍xx

  13. Oh Barb, I do love your blogs.
    I have always tried to be straight with people. My motto is “truth may hurt but lies hurt more”
    When I was running workshops one lady got a bit snarky with another crafter. I pulled her up and she was very annoyed that I had done so. Her friend said she couldn’t understand why the rest of the crew put up with me. A regular crafter said “thats why we like Cherry, what you see is what you get and what you hear is the truth”. Nuff said!!!
    I am sure I would get on very well with your Mum.

    A close friend had both her hips done a few years ago and now in her mid eighties she’s running around like a spring chicken. Hope your Mum’s op goes as well.
    Have a good weekend 🍒🍒🍒

  14. I’ve sometimes been told I’m as blunt as a brick, whereas I prefer to think of it as being direct. And it ain’t my fault if the other person don’t wanna hear it!

  15. I remember Pippa Dee well and Tupperware, still got some of that but not skimpy negligees, more like winceyette these days. I am inference, Fred will often say ” well why didn’t you ask”. i had in my own way he just did not get it. I hope your mum’s hip op goes well, lovely friendly lady. xx

  16. Remember those parties well, I still have Tupperware that I have been using everyday since then. I am sure there were more but can’t for the life of me remember what they were called. I know we had some local ones selling clothes & shoes
    Glad your Mom feels happy about her operation after talking to the consultant even if it had a shaky start. Hope all goes well & she is soon feeling 100% again.

  17. Love your blog, I think I’m a bit of both, like you with the tea or jobs I’d like help with, but quite blunt sometimes, I cannot tell a lie. If I go out shopping with a friend and she asks for my opinion on a dress or top I’d tell the truth, actually my friend says, if Pam says she doesn’t like it “that’s good enough for me”. I’d hate to hurt someone’s feelings though but if a question is asked you have to answer truthfully. You know where you are with your Mum. She is

  18. I tend to say things in a round about way I suppose, I am not wanting to be thought rude, though being direct isn’t really being rude, but that’s I must say I am much more direct now I am older though. I hope your Mum’s hip op goes well. x

  19. Hi Barbara, great blog today, hope your Mum reads all these good luck and best wishes messages, because being a direct person she knows all these people are being direct with her in wishing her well! My mum had her hip done couple of years back and not looked back since. As your Mum is strong in determination too, she will soon be up and about and hopefully pain free as my Mum was following her op. Me, I am usually to the point as we say but have learnt to temper it and proceed more cautiously, especially when I don’t know person well. I am good at picking up the unspoken things and do prefer a bit of straight talking when getting feedback. Of course, I am my own worst critic and don’t take praise very well, always making excuses as to why it’s no big deal. I’m working on being more gracious! Good job we are all different, makes life interesting and keeps us on our toes. Wish your Mum good luck and thanks for inspirational words once again. Karen xxx

  20. I’m sure your mum’s op will go well, she has faith in her surgeon now they’re on the same hymn sheet lol! I am pretty straight with people and would hope that they understand that there is no malice intended but , if you’re asked question or for an opinion what’s the point of answering if you don’t speak your own mind. Doesn’t mean you have to be ‘nasty’ about it, just be honest! Xx

  21. Great Blog post today Barb… I too prefer people who are direct, straight talkers. Not to the point of rudeness mind , but simply honest, without inference.
    Reminds me of our Grace……’Cup of tea Dave ?’ (Long pause). Grace then continues …Please ?
    In short I have become the tea / coffee maker , and happily xx

  22. Hi Barb, great blog post and very thought provoking. Mine varies depending on the audience. Take care all. Bx

  23. Hi Barbara ,love this story its so true! I have found asking people “what have you heard me say?” often leads to surprising conversations and better understanding for both parties .Sense of humour can go a long way too .My late father (100 years of age) called a spade a spade and everyone loved him for it .Warm regards Carmel

  24. I have anxiety and depression, and I am always reading between the lines, assuming something is being inferred. Paranoia!
    Also, I am not direct, I don’t like confrontation. I have an aunt who is very direct, she hasn’t got ‘tact’. She doesn’t get on with many people, she rubs them up the wrong way. Hence, she is very lonely. So sad 😔

  25. Hi Barbara,
    Great blog love reading it every day.
    Hope your Mums Operation goes well, as i am sure she has put the Consultant straight a woman after my own heart.
    Will be thinking of her, but with you by her side there will be no problem.
    Look after yourself, hope you are feeling a little better now.
    Lynn xx

  26. Such an interesting blog post today. I find direct communication really difficult, and used to have to be direct to the point of rudeness with one of my NHS staff who just didn’t get the message if I wasn’t! I hope your mum gets her surgery date soon, and she will be so much less stressed having built up trust and faith in her consultant’s ability to do a good job x

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