Our roof had hail damage. Our contractor was calling our insurance agent to report it. I listened in as he talked to her.
She: How do you spell that last name?
She: You gave me B-U-G-E-S-S.
He: No. B-U-R-G-E-S-S.
She: Okay. You gave me . . .
Over and over. After each of his responses, she’d answer with “You gave me . . .”
It troubled me.
What she heard wasn’t necessarily what he gave.
She was mistaken.
Assuming Too Much?
How many times do we do this to each other? You said. No, that’s not what I said.
When we don’t hear what others are saying—but think we do!—everyone gets frustrated.
Miscommunications cause unnecessary conflict.
- Feelings get hurt.
- People are offended.
- Relationships are damaged.
What if instead of saying, “You said . . .”, we asked, “Did I hear you say . . . ?”
It leaves room for dialogue, for confirmation, or for correction as needed. With no walls coming up. No defensive posturing. No confrontational feelings aroused.
What we hear isn’t always what was said.
And what we say isn’t always what is received.
Let’s stop assuming we hear each other right, and instead dialogue about it.
- With a humble spirit.
- A teachable spirit.
- A gentle spirit.
Our contractor finally convinced our insurance agent how to spell our name and policy number and date of the roof damage. But it took a long time and made us all uncomfortable.
How quicker and more pleasant it could have been if she had just asked if she had it right each time instead of incorrectly accusing him of giving her false data.
Listening to each other with humility is a gift.
May we each grow in it giving it more and more.
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Do you assume you heard it right the first time? Or is listening a skill you’re still growing in? Please share in the comments.
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