Going down the interstate last night I was approaching an entrance ramp while driving in the right lane. There was a truck entering from the ramp. I slowed and blinked my lights (to inform him to merge in front of me). He hesitated. I slowed a little more and blinked high beam/low beam once again as a signal. He hesitated and slowed. I slowed even more to about a crawl at this point, flashing my lights as if I was trying to send SOS to a passing UFO nearby.
Finally after I came to almost a halt, the truck merged in front of me and went on.
Why did I insist on letting this guy over?
Initially I was trying to do the right thing. I was in the right lane and didn’t want to keep him trapped from merging into the traffic while at a high speed. Then it just became a mission for me to get him to merge while I was blocking upcoming traffic behind me. “Come on buddy, merge already!”
Trust and Communication
But he may not have trusted my motives or my flashing headlights. He apparently didn’t get the signal or understand what I meant while trying to communicate the words “merge over”, as I slowed down and blinked my headlights.
After much persistence on my part, he was able to get the “hint,” get the message, and merged into traffic.
How often does this happen when we try to communicate with people? Do you feel like you are blinking your lights, waving your hands, saying every word in your vocabulary attempting to get a message across to someone while they just stand there like a deer in headlights? Stunned, hesitant, clueless.
I hate that feeling. It is frustrating when they just aren’t getting it. But then I remember I need to be patient and slow down allowing them to have time to get a grip on what it is I am trying to relay, so it finally clicks. Sometimes people need time to process the information. This is true with my kiddos, and it is true in relationships, adult relationships.
Sometimes I think, “Why aren’t they understanding; why isn’t this changing?” “Where are the results?” Then I realize, maybe I am not getting my message across because I am not speaking their language. I am speaking English (or in the case with the truck using what is common driver signals for merge), but perhaps I am not communicating to them in a way that caters to their personality type or their level of attention at the moment. If you strive to be a better communicator, this realization is important.
Perhaps I should have waved my hand out the window to better communicate with the truck driver and yelled at him across the interstate, “Come on over, buddy!” Or perhaps the truck driver was preoccupied….
If I am in the middle of doing a project at work, intensely focused on the task at hand, and then someone tries to tell me something…. I usually tune them out or worse: I might snap at them (just ask Mr. M.). Sadly I don’t understand what they are trying to relay in that moment and I get frustrated that I can’t do two things at once.
Are you trying to get a message across to someone who is preoccupied?
Are you sure you are communicating in a way they can understand?
What have you tried to communicate lately in a relationship, that just didn’t seem to get through? Did they finally get the message? Did they finally merge?
photo credit: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_-7H9SC1JOrE/SeY7LJAyhoI/AAAAAAAAALU/3iun-J4goN8/s320/merge-796194.jpg
Find yourself… keeping it real.