“What did you mean by that?”

There’s a very simple question that can be used to avoid a good deal of conflict.  “What did you mean by that?”

We take our time to stew in our own heads, and we don’t communicate with people in a manner that’s beneficial or positive, because real life is hard, and people would rather text than talk.  For crying out loud, we’re now in a spot where people are using emoji to communicate with others!

The digital age has slowly reduced us from functioning human beings to cavemen and women drawing paintings on a wall.

That means when we see something posted on Facebook or Twitter, or we hear a statement from another person in public, we don’t even begin to question that person’s perspective and why they said what they said.  We just stew, make assumptions, and then create a knot in our guts that says “This person is a bad person.”

What if I told you there was an easy way to get a clear cut conflict resolution with one question?  This isn’t some Morpheus level crap, I’m telling you right now you can fix your problem with one question.

“What did you mean by that?”

Ask the person that sincerely and honestly.  Let them know you’re not picking a fight (unless that’s your place of response), but you really want to know what they meant.

When you do so, you’ll be surprised at the results.

I had a comedian at one point tell me that it was OK to commit suicide on the radio once.  He was the “heel” on a comedy show, and I was the “straight man” or “face.” I stewed on the subject for a bit, and then later that night I asked him “What did you mean by that?”

Boom.  Problem cleared up.  Issue solved.

Most people won’t take this step.  Most won’t even begin the conversation with that phrase.  They’ll just stew, because they’re afraid of conflict and doing something that will make their lives better.

Then the relationship is poisoned, the communication is over, and you don’t get the healing that is necessary.

So take that time today, tomorrow, or whenever you need to do it.  Just ask that simple question to kick-start your conversation.

“What did you mean by that?”

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