It happens all the time.
A look or glance. A sigh. A remark that insinuates I didn’t do something I should’ve…
Do you know what I’m talking about?
I’m talking about the “clues” my wife gives me. But these clues tend to be indirect and unclear. But from her perspective, she’s sending a signal…
And I tend to be completely oblivious regarding these “signals.”
We recently moved to Portland, Oregon, to a small two bedroom apartment near the city. We have a 2-year-old daughter and a Goldendoodle named Everest. We’ve had Everest for three years now, and he’s always had a yard to play and romp around in. He’s got tons of energy, loves people, and needs to run around. A lot.
But since moving to this small apartment in a rainy city, he hasn’t gotten much outdoor time. It’s been an adjustment for us, but it’s been even harder on him.
And herein lies the source of many arguments in our house.
My wife will say something like, “Oh, my momma heart just feels so bad. We need to get him outside more.”
To which I nod my head in agreement.
Now, what I hear in that statement is: “I love my dog so much, it hurts me to see him so sad. I will see to it that he gets the exercise he needs and I will take responsibility for his well-being.”
But what she usually is trying to say is, “Derek, you need to walk Everest more.”
Hold up….what? I thought you said…WAIT a minute…I’m confused.
I literally can’t tell you how many times we’ve had a conversation like this.
And this is just ONE example of what I’m talking about. I won’t even mention any parenting examples…(“No…I wanted YOU to change the diaper so I could get the snack!”)
Why don’t we like to be direct and simply speak what it is we’re thinking? Why do we passive-aggressively speak in “code” hoping that others will pick up on our signals and decode the mystery that is a combination of clues not even Sherlock Holmes could figure out. (Or maybe he could…I don’t know.)
Listen, if I wanted to solve a mystery, I would’ve become a detective. Or play the game, Clue. Or visit an Escape Room (SO much fun…btw).
If my wife wants me to walk Everest more, I want her to just TELL me. Don’t drop hints. I’m too literal for that.
But honestly, I’m just as bad as she is. I’m so non-confrontational, I’d rather hope that she gets the subtle hints I drop instead of having to actually speak my mind. I often don’t even realize I do it.
It’s crazy, I know. But I bet you’ve done this a time or two….or a hundred million. Somewhere in there, I bet.
No one can read your mind. And no one can read mine. No matter how well I know my wife, and no matter how well she knows me, it’s much more efficient and peaceful if we just say what we actually want to say.
If you like fighting with your spouse, parents, kids, friends, coworkers, bosses, or whatever…then by all means keep “leaving clues” and drop “subtle hints.”
But if you actually want to communicate like a mature adult, then please, drop the detective act and simply say what it is you’re thinking. You’ll be happier (and a lot less angry) if you do. And you’ll usually get what you want much quicker.