We have all been through this. Something is set up for either us to do or for someone else to do for us. But it never turns out the way we planned. We had good intentions. We thought we explained clearly what we wanted.
Our assumptions about what the other person understood made us think that all was well. And then the work took place. The errand was run. The project was started.
I am not talking about the broken wire in a wall that we didn’t plan for. Nor am I talking about the plan to serve egg nog but your husband forgot to buy it.
The situations I am talking about always revolve around expectations. Expectations we have about the work to be completed. The things someone will or will not do. What someone will want in return.
We end up frustrated when misunderstandings occur. We feel so angered that all we could think about is how we are right. How could someone do something different than we expected?
We want what we expected. It’s our right to get what we expected. We don’t want to be cheated.
What I find interesting, when misunderstandings occur, both parties say the same things as you heard above about each other. Their stories, frustrations, and disappointments are the same. They are identical. They both describe each other the same way. That the other person is unfair and not right. They should do what they are supposed to do.
Neither party feels they are at fault. They simply both complain “How could the other person do that to me?” And it is exactly because each person feels the same about each other that when they talk all they do is build on their anger. They don’t hear each other because their complaints are already familiar to themselves.
When in this position what things could you do? First, you need to slow down and accept the fact that you might partly be at fault. You didn’t communicate your expectations. There is something missing that both you and the other person didn’t understand about what each person wanted in return.
You didn’t speak up. You assumed. They assumed something different.
More importantly, you need to give up the idea that when I talk to this person that I can convince them that I am right. Stop it right now. It won’t work. The other person is saying the same things about you.
You also must understand that what you thought you were going to receive is not going to happen. If you were going to receive what you thought or expected there would be no misunderstanding. Your original position is no longer an option. For either one of you.
BEFORE talking to the other person you now need to work out in your own mind what might be the second best, the third best and possibly the least best (but acceptable) option you can agree to.
You need to think of solutions not stronger emotions. Give up trying to make yourself feel good. You are not going to get what you want when your in a middle of a misunderstanding.
Spend your time thinking what you will give up to move forward. And then talk to the other person and suggest to them your options. You are not being weak when you do this. You are being honest. You are being sincere in the fact that you want to resolve this knowing you’re not going to get your way.
It’s not worth your time or your energy to simply continue the fight. Settle your misunderstandings quickly so that you can get on with your life. And they can get on with their life.
It sometimes is difficult to confront the other person you have been so angry at but the sooner you resolve your misunderstandings, the better your life will be.
You’re the one making it hard on yourself by avoiding the other person. It’s not them. It’s you. Give it a try the next time you are in the middle of a misunderstanding and see for yourself.