When you look back on situations of conflict, so many awful things seem to happen solely because of some kind of misunderstanding. Especially between friends and loved ones – people close to you – the stakes are higher because of all the emotions involved. A comment interpreted the wrong way or a statement taken out of context suddenly leads to very strong feelings that can manifest themselves in behavior we later regret.
For this reason, I beg of you: when something doesn’t strike you the right way, please… ASK for clarification. A repetition of what was said, an explanation of what was meant, or perhaps some contextual background. Whether it’s a stranger you are talking to, or somebody very close to you, clarification very often is all it takes to prevent unpleasant feelings that don’t need to be there from developing – and the process of clarifying together is indispensable for developing trust and healing feelings. It’s how relationships get stronger.
Even if you THINK you know what was said, still… ask for clarification. Don’t take “95% certainty” to be good enough. You deserve 100%.
Sometimes, there is still a misunderstanding, even after you clarify. But that’s also good – because once the misunderstanding is out in the open, you then have the choice to sort through it or leave it alone. And feeling at choice – knowing the various options you have moving forward – is an indispensable asset to the positive thinker.
And even though, I promise you, the majority of the time there really is a misunderstanding, it’s not unreasonable to ask: what if it’s not a misunderstanding? What if your bad feelings about what was said are correct? Well, then… at least it’s an understanding. It’s a lot easier to move forward if you are at least clear on what you’re working with. That’s how you win by clarifying, no matter which way things go.
That’s all I’ve got to say for now. :-)