Communication breakdowns happen all the time. Considering we are wired to respond to the beat of our own drummer, it’s amazing we ever find ourselves making sense to one another. Often times you think you are tuned in but then something happens – an upset, a sense of confusion, hurt feelings – and it feels like the finger is being pointed at you.
If you’re the “accused” or “wrong one,” the typical knee jerk response is to defend yourself. Surely, you have a logical clarification or explanation that you repeatedly put forth but ever notice how your good intentions seem to escalate the situation instead of diffuse it? Both of you end up frustrated and confused. Why? Because a mishandled misunderstanding gets escalated when the “rational“ thinking cerebral cortex gets trumped by the “emotional” limbic system.
What to do? Don’t defend. In situations like this, being right is the booby prize. Understand that your partner, coworker, customer, just had an emotional highjack and this is no time to appeal to reason.
Instead take a deep breath and with sincerity ask: ”What could I do better?” “What could I do differently?” Then listen – with your heart. Didn’t know your heart has ears?
Prepare to be amazed.