Relationship Stress From Unclear Expectations

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.

© Copyright 2012 DJW Life Coach LLC. All rights reserved.

About djwlifecoach

As a retired board-certified coach, author and Reiki master teacher, I continue to share hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. What's love got to do with minimizing stress and getting unstuck? Everything! My book, "Choose Your Energy: Change Your Life!" (Hay House/Balboa Press 2013) shares my story and the stories of 10 of my clients along with my signature Discovery Framework. During my 30 years as an organization transformation consultant, I served as a senior partner in four of the world's largest, most prestigious global professional services firms. In 2005, I took a five-year sabbatical to find healing and peace because non-stop work had taken its toll. My recovery from burnout, including a sustained 80-pound weight loss and freedom from 10 years of debilitating depression, led to finding my purpose sharing hope, possibilities and empowerment with the world. Through healing and self-exploration, I discovered that loving yourself unconditionally is the key to transforming your personal life, your work and the world. With attention and intention, I learned to live in alignment with love through a wealth of energy-shifting tools and techniques that help me reduce stress, anxiety and overwhelm by releasing limiting beliefs, emotions and habits. My books, blog and radio episodes help individuals and organizations harness the transformative energy of love to turn unexplored possibilities into fulfilling realities and step into their greatness. Learn more and access FREE resources at For fun, I love singing, reading, sewing, knitting, golfing and movies. I live in Williamsburg, Virginia with my husband, Wilson, and the coaching cats who manage my life—SiddhaLee and Maisy Jane.
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