Health and Safety Notice
If you have ever been on the London Underground Tube network, you will have heard the health and safety notice announced over the PA system.
‘Mind the gap between the train and the platform’.
They are warning you to mind your footing as you get on and off the train. They want to prevent you from falling through the gap between the train and the platform, and risk injuring or kill yourself!!
You could say, this blog is more of a health and safety notice –
To avoid conflict, damaging or even, ending relationships unnecessarily…..
Mind the Gap between the words used in conversation or discussion AND your interpretation or misinterpretation of them. Ask for clarification!
Frequently, we put an end to conversations with key people in our lives about important situations and circumstances, I will call ‘XYZ’.
The energy or feeling of what has been said leaves an emotional imprint.
We all want our conversations about XYZ to leave us feeling happy, clear about our next steps, or at the very least optimistic and hopeful of where we can go from here, wherever here is.
However, often times, the imprint left is one of confusion as we wonder ‘what just happened?’ Instead of having answers to questions, we are left asking even more than we had before.
The danger is in our interpretation of what they meant when they said ‘abc’…’ and how that fits into our understanding of ‘XYZ’ and vice versa.
In the hours and days that follow, we are left ruminating over the conversation, wondering if they meant ‘this’ or ‘that’, how we feel, and what that means for us and the relationship overall?
The trick is not to leave the gap in the conversation ‘open’ without clearing up any misconceptions.
Many good relationships are lost because of gaps that are not filled with clarity and understanding.
Agree to Disagree
It is not always necessary to agree. It maybe just as important agreeing to disagree.
However, if you are unclear about where you stand on XYZ, the chances are, so are they.
Therefore, take the time to have a chat so you can both get on the same page.
You might talk in a couple days, a week or even a month.
What is important is that you take the time to be clear about out how you feel, what you want and are able to get that across. Even if you feel they are likely to disagree. Know that it is ok.
Do not avoid the conversation because you feel uncomfortable broaching the subject.
This is where you begin to make up your own mind, and can end up creating ‘bad feelings’ where non need exist.
Do not, necessarily, leave it to them to make the first move – unless they do.
This means they want to get things cleared up with you too and are asking for you to express your thoughts and feelings to them.
Listen to what they have to say and you say what you have to say.
Keep on communicating until you are both able to decide on a way forward before ending the conversation.
Bear in mind, also that you may have several and the way forward may not be together!!
If this is the case, stepping away may be less painful now than later. It may also mean you get to come together down the road.
It is up to you to gain the clarity you need, to move forward in a way that helps you to have an ongoing, healthy and supportive relationship.