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Love Notes: What DoYou Mean? Secrets of Clear Communication

Recently a man I had met through sent me an email and asked "What's your situation now?" I wondered what he meant. My situation? What situation? Do you mean am I dating anyone? Do you mean, do I have time to see you? Do you mean do I want to pursue a relationship with you? Do you mean you want to hire me as a coach? What do you mean?

This is a big problem in relationships. Being clear. How clear are you when it comes to communicating with the opposite sex? How clear are you with yourself? Do you know what you really mean?

When we are clear with ourselves about what we want, it is easier to be clear with another. When we are not clear with ourselves misunderstandings occur and hurt and disappointment can result. Would you like to minimize misunderstandings in your communications? Would that make dating and relationships easier?

Here are a few secrets of clear effective communication.

First, know what you want. Whenever you go to a singles event or log onto your favorite internet dating site, have a clear intention in mind. Better yet, write it down. When you write something down you are forced to be clearer. Writing it down also gives it power and allows you to refer to it later. An intention is different than a goal. An intention will be in alignment with your values and what you want in your life. For example, you may not be ready for a long term committed relationship right now. Perhaps you are starting a new business and are spending a lot of time on that. Or you may have other things that are taking your time. So your intention might be to find someone to go out with, who shares common interests and just wants to have fun. If that is the case, communicate that clearly to the other person.

Be specific. It is amazing to me how often we speak in vague and general terms and expect others to know what we mean. The other day I was talking with a client who told me about a man she had been going out with. "I don't know what to think!" She told me with obvious frustration. "He asked me to go away for the weekend and then said something about a special Sunday brunch, 'My treat'. Does that mean I am supposed to pay for the rest of my meals? And what about the condo? I don't know if I can afford this trip right now." Since her boyfriend had not been clear, she was left wondering. Being vague and not being clear leads to many misunderstandings and results in the break up of many relationships that could have been great. This leads us to the next point.

Ask for clarification. So often we assume that the other person knows or has the same understanding that we do. I'm sure her boyfriend felt sure that she knew that the weekend would be Dutch. He may have had that understanding with other women he had dated. Yet he and Nancy had never had that conversation and she was too shy to bring it up. Asking for clarification can be difficult, yet when we do not, misunderstandings and resentments can result. And misunderstandings and resentments end up killing relationships.

Ask for what you want. Most people are afraid to ask for what they want, because they think they won't get it. Yet unless you ask, many times other people don't know what it is you need! When you ask, you have at least of 50/50 chance of getting it. Are you any worse off if you ask? No, not really. People don't ask for what they want because they don't want to be disappointed. So I am going to give you the secret to asking for what you want and not being disappointed. Ask without being attached to whether or not your request is fulfilled. Ask open endedly. Ask and actually allow the other person to say "yes" or "no" to your request. Ask knowing that you can get your needs met in another way if this one doesn't work out. In other words, detach from the outcome. Yet when you don't ask for what you want, how do you expect the other person to know?

So if you want to improve your relationship and your chances for a long term fulfilling partnership, follow these simple guidelines; know what you want, be specific, ask for clarification, and ask for what you want without being attached to the outcome. Use these simple guidelines and you will have fewer misunderstandings.

Deb Melton is a certified singles coach and offers individual tele-coaching, teleclasses and live events to help singles prepare to find the love of their life and the life that they love. Deb's philosophy is that it's never too late to live the life of your dreams. She lives in Denver and has been a ski instructor and hiking guide and loves to travel to romantic cities in Italy and France. Sign up for her Free column Love Notes on her website or contact her at 303-986-2223

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