Side note: Embarrassing is a common descriptor for several, if not the majority, of my experiences in life.
This morning I was meeting with a woman from church. We are paired up to work closely together for who knows how long. We decided to meet to plan some things and at first I was excited.
Yet as we talked I felt myself getting stressed and defensive. I'm still not exactly sure why I began to feel that way. I think perhaps my pride was a bit injured through no fault of hers.
Something else you should know about me is sometimes communication is a big struggle for me. Not so much the remembering to tell people things or knowing the importance of communication (hint hint: it's important), but rather the very act of getting words out of my mouth. I know the idea I want to communicate or what I want to convey and I can find the words to do so in my head, but in speaking the words get lost somewhere. It is, at times, frustrating for me. Mostly it's not a big issue or even a small issue. Occasionally though it leads to miscommunications and misunderstandings.
I sat there feeling defensive, which made it even harder for me to communicate, and unsure what to do about this new arrangement. When suddenly, she stopped and asked me what she could do to help me feel more at ease with the new plans. She sensed my defensiveness and probably my hostility and confronted me about it in a gentle way. I was completely taken back and a bit mortified! I realized immediately that I was being ridiculous. I apologized for my behavior and tried my best to explain my concerns. After that, things went smoother and I believe we came up with a good plan.
Conversation is risky at times. Things either go smoothly, or sometimes arguments may arise, or grudges can be formed. Here is a way to prevent the two latter things: do not be afraid to ask people to clarify. Ask them to help you understand what they are saying.
She could have shied away from confronting me and being open and we would have parted both feeling unhappy about the situation. Instead she politely, and calmly confronted me in a way that I could tell she was truly attempting to understand.
The whole event led me to think about how many arguments and quarrels could be calmed or avoided all together by people willing to be open, honest, and unafraid to ask questions. Be willing to ask for clarifications and be open to explaining them. Doing so might cause you to feel vulnerable, but it will be worth it if good communication can be reached.