May the Force be with us!
October 10th, 2023 – Here’s the drive thru (but way less juicy!) version of today’s email: good communication is hard (but essential!) and will make everything go better and smoother, so invest in setting boundaries and you will reap the benefits!
Now, let’s get on with things.
OMG, last Friday was a rough one for me, I mean a total sh*tshow.
You absolutely know what kind of day it’s going to be when the coffee pot decides to distribute your hot coffee alllllll over the counter instead of INSIDE THE CARAFE….and then when trying to clean it up, you spew hot groundsludge all over the floor and yourself…and then, for the finale, you drop the whole machine in the sink and break it. (not the glass carafe, though, thank goodness!)
True story. (yes, we resorted to instant coffee…)
Then, later that same day, you reach out to a client who had gone radio-silent after a project was over, to check in and ask for feedback (as one should)…and you find out that the weren’t 100% satisfied (yet NEVER SAID ANYTHING over weeks…). It was like a big ol’ slap in the face! On so many levels!!
Needless to say, I had to “emotionally process” that, AKA call Karen and sob like baby. What would we do without our women friends??? (I hope I never have to find out.)
Also a true story.
Then after that, even the little stuff felt huge and dramatic, like my bag of ice for icing my knees falling off the couch and spraying cubes in literally all directions.
I think you get it by now. UGHHHHH. It was a real DAY.
Can you think of a situation that would’ve been made so much easier had there been better communication?
The neighbor that crowds their trash cans uncomfortably close to yours when you only have 4 feet of curb and they have 40 feet?? How do you bring it up without then being “that neighbor” and creating drama?
The friend that regularly sends out group text blasts to 8-10 people at a time, blowing up your phone. How do you share that it’s distracting and extremely tone deaf to the fact that we are overwhelmed with notifications as it is?
The family member that has a “talent” for requesting important information with a hot deadline, not respecting that maybe you have your own hot deadline and dropping that means more work later? And being the helper that you are…you turn from your task to address theirs…again.
I bet you have a co-worker that consistently emails or messages after/before work hours? How do you broach the subject that you don’t want to seem unresponsive, but you’re off the clock, so getting brought back into work mode is insensitive?
The need for good communication is everywhere. At work, at home, on the news, on the roads, in schools, in any line for anything…literally everywhere.
And it’s so hard. The word we are looking for here is BOUNDARIES.
Yep, I said it!
Wouldn’t it be great if we all had a cute kitty cat to be our boundary-setter??
Since we can’t get cats to do our dirty work (or any work at all!), my advice is as follows:
- Do NOT address the situation when it’s “in the moment,” know what I mean? Emotional reactions will rule the day and only make things worse! Find a way to bring it up, in person if possible, with the most kindness and “I statements” that you can put forth. (and maybe while holding a cute kitten?)
- Also, take a minute and look at your own behaviors. Can you find something that maybe you are doing that invites others to cross your boundaries regularly? Or are you conflating some previous situation with the current one and letting it get under your skin? Can you adjust your expectations and let some shizz go?
- Are there any repeat situations that you can go back to, examine, and then set up a system that allows the other person to take steps on their own before coming to you? This can take a little time but oh. so. worth. it.
I’m so lucky to have a little group of amazing mom-friends (we have been buddies since our oldest kids were toddlers, so) for about two decades! Since we aren’t getting together for playgroups or school functions anymore, we want to still see each other and visit. We want to protect and maintain our special relationship! With six schedules to coordinate, it became a frustrating endeavor to schedule time to go to dinner. We would go around and around in a text group, rarely finding that unicorn space. So, I suggested that we put a standing monthly time on the calendar, literally, on Google calendar, and then when it comes up, we see who’s in and who’s out.
It’s so much simpler. It’s communication. It’s a system. It works.
If you want feedback, don’t be afraid to communicate. It will always yield positive results. Here’s a great book to support you: Radical Candor by Kim Scott (more for the workplace, but relevant across the board!)
Without good feedback, we can’t learn and move forward eh? And without good boundaries, we just get flopped around all over the place, and no one wants that.
“Dillon, my dear son, no, I don’t have time to send you the insurance card right now. Feel free to check your United Healthcare app or our Team Lanier Trello board.”
May the Force be with us!
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