“You picking up what I’m putting down?”
“Do you follow my drift?”
“Are you with me?”
There are so many ways to ask if someone is tracking with what you’re sharing with them (a great sign of successful communication is checking in and verifying that you are, in fact, on the same page, and addressing it if that’s not the case), and one of the most common “miscommunications” that I notice is when someone is hearing what’s not being said.
Now, there is a beautiful side of being able to read people’s body language intonation, etc. and accurately be able to “hear” what they’re not saying (evidenced by helping them feel seen and understood, and giving them the gift of articulating what they’re actually intending to share), but there is great danger when you “hear” what they’re not saying because you’re:
? Hearing what you want to hear
? Listening for something to rebuttal instead of listening for their actual words
? Picking up what YOU are putting down, and it’s not matching what THEY are putting down
? Only willing to hear what backs up your preconceived notions
? Inaccurately translating what they say into something else (i.e. if they say “I’ve never found myself attracted to that type of man.” that’s actually not the same as if they had said “that type of man is not attractive.” and if you’re translating, you’re doing them, and you, a disservice, because you’re not actually hearing what they are communicating)
That’s a recipe for miscommunication, misunderstanding, and frustration.
So, ask yourself:
❓ “Am I picking up what they’re putting down?”
❓ “Am I following their drift?”
❓ “Am I with them?”
❓ “Am I hearing what they are *actually* saying, or just what I *think* they are saying?”
❓ “Am I willing to ask for clarification so I can hear what they’re trying to communicate?”
It may feel clumsy at first, but it will be so worth it!
And, clarifying to make sure you’re on the same page doesn’t mean you AGREE on what they’re sharing with you, but it will help ensure that you understand what they’re sharing with you.
Having effective communication with someone doesn’t mean you see eye to eye on every single thing so much as it means you can talk about and explore differences of opinions while having an understanding of them and they of you.
Communication matters, and it’s up to you whether or not you’re willing to move through this with someone or not.
I remember when one of my friends used to describe me as an “alpha female” and I was triggered every time, because, to me, “alpha” is very masculine and dominating and not how I want to show up. But I knew that they were saying it as a compliment, so one of the times I finally asked, and shared with them how it came across to me, from my perspective. And when they told me all the things they meant by it (committed, accomplished, driven, etc.), I was able to hear it differently and truly receive the compliment from it.
If I had let that remain as a question mark, where I was triggered each time they made the comment, and never addressed it, it would have been a “little fox” that would have slowly, over time, grown out of proportion and caused undetected division in our friendship. “Little fox” being in reference to the Bible, where it talks about the little foxes spoiling the vines in the vineyards, which in turn end up destroying the whole crop. If the “little foxes” aren’t taken care of, it ends up ruining far more than just the one vine the fox spoiled in the first place.
Long story, short = address the “little foxes” in communication. It’ll save you a lot of heartache in the end!