Be Specific!

Edited Dr Phill Collage


Who among us is a Dr. Phil fan?  Not I!  However, on one particular afternoon many years ago, I was sitting on the couch, surfing through the channels and I ended up zoning out on an episode of his show.


And, god of gods, I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard him say something that made some kind of sense and wasn’t just his usual brandishing of mixed-up metaphors, analogies and whatnot – you know what I’m talking about; they are often akin to something like “You can’t lead a horse to water and a city mouse out of the country without two pennies to rub together to make a pancake” (lol).  And that thing he said made so much sense to me that, years later, I’ve never forgotten it.


BE SPECIFIC. You can’t get what you want if you don’t know exactly what you are asking for.


This may seem obvious, but actually, we break this rule all the time.  Let me give you some examples.


#1 “I just wish you would be a little more understanding!”

#2 “I need you to be there for me.”

#3 “You need to make me trust you again”


At first blush, it may not seem so, but there is so much ambiguity in these sentences.   Take a look at the first example.


#1 “I just wish you would be a little more understanding!”


When you are asking for more understanding, what are you really asking for? A search for the definition of “understanding” tells us that it means “sympathetic awareness or tolerance”.  If you have asked something similar of someone else, is this what you meant?  What is it that you needed to see or hear from them in order to know that they indeed were being understanding or complying with your request to be more so?  Can you be certain that your partner is on the same page with you about what “understanding” means and how it is conveyed?  Have you cross-checked that with them?


Apply these same kinds of questions to phrases like “there for me” and “make me trust you”.  You’ll be amazed by the plethora of assumptions and opportunities for misunderstanding and lack of compliance that these phrases are riddled with.


So, what we are really doing by not being specific in conveying our needs and wants to our significant others is setting them up for failure and ourselves up for disappointment.  While it might be nice for our mate to magically know what we need and anticipate those needs, this expectation or hope is incredibly unrealistic.


In a good, healthy relationship, your partner undoubtedly wants to do for you the things you need and want; it gives them the same pleasure as it does you to do for them.  However, it is important to understand that if you don’t clearly articulate these things, they are going to get it wrong, more often than not.


So help yourself and help them.  Next time you are asking something of them, be specific!


P.S.  Oh man, it has been a LONG, LONG, LONG time since I’ve posted anything.  There are a couple of reasons for that.  The first is that I kept thinking that perhaps this post needed to be longer.  The second is that I have been working on some other projects.  The third is that….well, we are in the US now for a couple of months.  I’ve decided that this post is just fine as it is ^_^  I’ve also missed writing for this blog, a lot.  And finally, even though we are in the US at the moment, there are Goa stories and tips I still want to share.  So, for now, let’s just act like I’m still in that Indian paradise ;)


I’ve missed you so!  Hopefully you’ve missed me, too!



Be Specific

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