What’s the Payoff?

Why do we get so much enjoyment out of telling people how busy we are, how hard we work, how little sleep we got, how people disappointed us, or what went wrong at the restaurant or auto shop?

I understand the need to vent or get sympathy from others, yet this type of complaining often becomes our conversation MO.

Is it because we don’t have anything else to talk about?

Do we think this gives us some type of status in the brotherhood/sisterhood 0f whiners?

Is it because we think other people don’t have enough frustrations of their own?

Whatever the reason, complaining only adds more unrest, emptiness, and static to our already crowded lives.

When we decide to bring “music” instead of noise to the world, our conversations might sound more like this…

“I was thinking about you today and how glad I am that you are in my life.”
“Tell me the highlight of your day.”
“Have I told you lately how proud of you I am?”

Want a better payoff?

You Are So Predictable

We can be so naively unaware how our words can be mind-numbing to those who live around us. We often use worn out phrases and clichés without even thinking about it. For example:

To be honest with you… (really? what were we being before?)

I can’t believe this… (because we prefer to live in denial?)

If you will… (what the heck does that mean? if I will what?)

Nobody’s perfect… (like we need to be reminded?)

I don’t have time for this… (and we are going to save time by complaining?)

So boring. So predicable. So ho hum.

If we listen to ourselves, we might find we are just parroting other people, trying to sound cool, or just filling up the airspace. We might find that we are talking from a small place instead of a large place; stealing energy instead of giving it.


What if we all made a commitment (for at least 24 hrs) to only say the most meaningful words?

Ugh! They Drive Me Nuts!

bang head here

Today, I heard the well-worn, my coworkers-drive-me-nuts complaint yet one more time from a seminar participant. And, as always, my first thought before I responded was, “I wonder what aspect of your communication is driving them nuts?” 

I wasn’t being heartless. It’s just that everyone is being driven nuts by the manner which someone else communicates, and many times it is our own clueless communication habits that are behind the “crazy-maker’s” behavior.

For example, take the “My-husband-wife-boss-kids-or-coworker-won’t-talk-to-me” complaint…

People shut down or shut us out for a number of good reasons. Here are the most common ones:

  1. We talk too much
  2. We pound them with questions
  3. We don’t give them enough space or time to think
  4. They are introverts and we are extroverts
  5. We are nagging them
  6. We have ceased to delight in them and they can tell
  7. We are insincere or they think we are
  8. They think we don’t listen so it is a waste of their breath to talk to us
  9. They have lost hope that anything will ever change with our behaviors
  10. They don’t know how to tell us without starting a fight or hurting our feelings
  11. They need alone time
  12. We make them feel crazy or suicidal
  13. We have hurt or offended them

While, all along, we thought we were just doing the right thing, you know, trying to entertain them, show interest in them, or get them to interact with us! How dare they!

Much of this communication dysfunction comes from believing and expecting that everyone should communicate just the way we do. Based on the number of times I have wanted to kill someone for what they said or didn’t say, I imagine that  ignorance of these differences in communication preferences is probably responsible for the majority of homicides in this country (not to mention addictions, breakups, and breakdowns!)

More about fixing it, one communication screw-up at a time, tomorrow…

(FYI, my daily Two-Minute Tune-Ups have been 130 words or less for five years. I have worked very hard to keep them short for readers who “don’t like to read.” This one is longer for two reasons: 1) The subject matter required more words 2) So does Google.)