Friday, June 4, 2010

Making Things Explicit...Avoiding the "Bad Call"

Within the course of my life in general and relationships specifically I prefer to make things explicit. I prefer to know where I stand with people. I have found that being authentic, honest, and explicit really facilitates this process. However, it is not easy to do this; I've been in very uncomfortable and at times awkward situations by attempting to identify and make explicit undercurrents. I have also learned that doing this does not always resolve the issue because if the person or people I'm interacting with avoid being honest and explicit (sometimes even to themselves) awkward undercurrents may remain.

I'd like to use a sports metaphor to further illustrate the benefit of being explicit within the context of friendships and relationships. Imagine you are watching a football game and the ref calls a face-mask penalty against your team. [For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a face-mask call is I have included a youtube video below of what it looks like. As you can see from the video it is illegal because it could really injure the player, ie. break his neck.] Upon replay, you can see that your team's player did not actually grab on to the face-mask but the player's hand was close to the face-mask. Most people choose to get upset with the ref for making a bad call. However, I appreciate the way my dad reframes the situation. He argues that if the player had made a fundamentally sound tackle (ie. hit them low and wrap up) his hand would not be anywhere near the face-mask which does not even give the ref an opportunity to make the "bad call."

When this is applied to friendships and relationships, being explicit about how you feel, what you think, etc. reduces the potential for misunderstandings. Being explicit means the other person does not have a reason to question or assume what is going on. As I was told many years ago, "when you assume you make an ass out of 'u' and 'me'." I have been in situations where misunderstandings and hurt feelings could have been avoided had both parties been honest and explicit. However, being honest and explicit can also, cause problems especially if you are interacting with a very sensitive person or people unwilling to critically reflect on the situation. Regardless, I firmly believe that making things explicit avoids the likelihood that you or your friend or partner will feel the need to question or make assumptions about your friendship or relationship. By making things explicit others aren't put in the situation where they even have the possibility to "make a bad call."


AngelaMae said...

Nice... I agree that honesty and straight forwardness are incredibly important... vital even. And yet... so many others do not (speaking more of the men in my life, past and present). *sigh* I wonder if they fear they will trample my delicate spirit? puahahahahahaha

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