Why Are We So Adverse To Communication?

mouth taped shutI had an interesting conversation yesterday.  The homeowner of the house next door told me that the renter had mentioned that our dogs are digging holes under the joint fence to see each other.




I looked along my fence and low and behold there was a little hole (apparently my dogs weren’t trying very hard because none of them could fit through, maybe those dreaded bunnies could).  So I told him I would fill it in and place something in front of it.  Problem solved.


But all day I just couldn’t understand or get a handle on why the renter never said anything to me.  We are on friendly terms and it wasn’t that big of a deal.


Here’s a little back story – a couple of renters ago had a 20ish son who rescued a small husky.  She was adorable and quit timid, yet she took to my girls immediately.  She used to dig holes constantly under that fence and wind up in my yard to hang out with them.  She eventually got so comfortable with us that she would come in the house and take naps in my family room.  I would put a note on the neighbors door to let them know if she wasn’t in the back yard she was hanging out with us.


They constantly filled in the holes and put rocks in front of them but she was quite determined.  It was no big deal.  I let them know in a friendly manner what she was doing and we remained on friendly terms.


When I talked to the homeowner yesterday he also inquired about the property line (his wife got very upset with me years ago because she insisted the privacy fence wasn’t on it) and I told him that in fact it was.  The previous owners pulled all the land maps or whatever they are called and put it right on the line.  He looked at me and said, “so she is also cutting half your yard?”  I told him yes and just smiled.  Again, no big deal.  If she wants to cut half my side yard when she cuts hers more power to her.  It isn’t enough for me to get upset about or raise a stink about.


So why not just tell your neighbor that you think the puppies are trying to play under the fence?


Because we are adverse to communication.


I believe it is for one of two reasons.


One – Fear.  You don’t want someone to be mad at you for saying something.  So instead of just saying something in a polite, friendly way we avoid. Avoidance is a wonderful thing.  We built this whole thing in our mind of how it can go in the worse possible way and we just don’t want that so we don’t say anything.


Two – PA.  We do not say anything yet hold a grudge behaving in a purely passive aggressive manner in that any communication following – even if it is “have a nice day” is met with anger, resentment or other negative emotions because, well, darn it they should be a mind reader and know that it bothered you.


Neither one is healthy.


If you want something new, a change or an end you must speak up for yourself.  Approach it in an open manner stating the issue in a non-threatening but factual manner and see what happens from there.


You could be rejected.  Ok, at least you tried and you know.


You could be met with anger.  That is not your issue.  You handled it with grace and as an adult so you are not to take on their negative reaction.


You could get what you want.  Who knew!


Speaking up is far less painful than all the thought and worry we put into it.  So often the other party has no idea of what you intentions or desires are and once you tell them they gladly comply.  They don’t even think twice about it.  So why are you stressing yourself out?


Over and over again I have seen in work situations where two employees want additional opportunities to grow and learn; one gets them and the other doesn’t.  The only difference: the first asks.


People are not mind readers, if you can’t do it why do you assume others can?


Actions are not enough, they can be misinterpreted.  You may be putting in a lot more hours at work to “tell” your boss that you deserve a chance to do more.  But what if your boss is looking at it as though you can’t get your work done during normal business hours?


No one knows everything that you are doing.  Even the best bosses don’t know every single action their employee takes so do not assume that they somehow know that you have been taking on a few more things.  That falls under the category of mind-reading.


Just spit it out and move on – life will be so much easier!



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW



2 thoughts on “Why Are We So Adverse To Communication?”

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