One common cause of relationship stress is unclear expectations. The best solution for this dilemma is clear communication. So how do you have a productive conversation about expectations with your partner, friend, boss or colleague?
Begin with a conversation opener such as: “I’m not sure I understand your expectations for this situation. I’d like to do my part to deliver a result we’ll both feel good about. Here are my thoughts. (Share using neutrally phrased “I statements”.)
Then, ask, “What are your thoughts?”
This next step is essential: really listen to the response. Listen to understand, not reload. If you are not ready to listen, then you are not ready to have the conversation. Make sure your heart and mind are open to collaboration and that you are seeking a true win-win outcome, not a strong-armed capitulation.
Finally, check that you understand what was conveyed. You might say, “So it sounds like you would like to ____________. Is that correct?” Continue asking clarifying questions and reflecting back what you have heard until you have reached a mutual understanding.
Honing the life skill of open, clear communication will reduce your overall stress dramatically. By listening deeply and communicating clearly, you will be trusted, respected and valued as a friend, colleague and partner.