I once witnessed an “international incident” – of sorts. An American engineer said “I don’t care” to his Swiss counterpart. With that, the Swiss engineer stood up and shouted back in disbelief “We are spending billions of dollars and you don’t care?”
In my books, I write about the need to have difficult, but important, conversations regarding aging and estate planning. Tensions are typically high when discussing such subjects. The slightest miscommunication of word or intent can lead to unnecessary conflict and sadness. I have witnessed more than a few well-intentioned conversations that went awry because of simple miscommunication.
Still yet, the conversations should be had. So what steps can be taken to minimize the potential for misunderstanding? Here are a few things to remember when planning such a conversation. (And you should not undertake such a conversation without a little upfront planning).
Try not to use colloquial terms, which are informal words or phrases used in everyday conversation but are usually specific to a geographic region. These are easily misunderstood. I remember on my first trip to Kentucky that every cola was called a Coke.
Don’t use ambiguous terms which are open to interpretation. For example, the phrase “I’m down” can mean “I’m sad” or “It’s Okay with me” depending on the context.
Keep in mind that there may be generational differences in the meaning of a word. For example, the word “bug” is used by younger generations to refer to an app problem. Whereas, someone in their 80’s may think you are referring to an illness.
Difficult conversations are not the place for sarcasm or humor. Which is especially hard to contain for yours truly. However, this can also lead to misunderstandings if the listener is not familiar with the speaker’s tone or intentions.
Be specific in the terms you are using when discussing estate or care planning. If you are not familiar with the myriad of terms, my books “First Steps For Success” and “Embraced Living” give a great foundation in these areas and suggestions for where to begin this process.
Back to my opening story. The American engineer had simply said “I don’t care which you choose”. The Swiss engineer took this to mean that he literally was disinterested in the whole program. You can imagine his concern. It was all cleared-up and a few laughs were had. But there were some tense, undue, moments.
Thanks for reading. Please like and share with those who are struggling with these issues!
And remember to take the next step.
For more information on how to bring a little order to life’s chaos, visit https://www.StepsForToday.com and check out my books:
– First Steps For Success https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RQZJ2VD
– Embraced Living https://www.amazon.com/dp/B093RZGJ81