Communication Part 3: The ball is in your court.
(This post is the third and final part of a series on communication written by an amazing friend and contributing writer for the Millennial Christian Woman blog. If you haven’t read Part Two of Esther’s series, you can find it HERE! -Rachel)
I walked out of the Thai restaurant in town to drive home and eat my delicious chicken with rice and cashew nuts when I met a friend who was just picking up his kids from sports class. It was great to run into each other. After a while he said, “We should do coffee soon. I would love to get together.” I replied, ‘Me too!” Then he said, “Why don’t you send me two dates that would work for you?” That is what I call great and clear communication. Both of us knew what to expect after we said goodbye and we knew how to follow up. This is something we can all learn and do.
We have this saying, “The ball is in your court.” It feels too weighty and straightforward to use language like that with people in every day life. But how cool would it be to have a “lighter version” of this saying that could address and clarify who is expected to follow up and initiate the actual setting of a date?
Who is going to call who?
A healthy friendship consists of two people devoted to connect and communicate well; people who take ownership for their part of the relationship.
But what if you have a busy couple of weeks and you run into someone you adore who you would love to spend time with, but know that you just aren’t available? How do you communicate that properly without missing the opportunity or overcommitting yourself? Is it easier to say, “I would love to see you so, yes, let’s hang out” all while you’re truly hoping you don’t run in to them again because you won’t actually have time to catch up? Or what if I told you there is a way for you to communicate and express your heart by sharing that things are too busy for you to meet up, but deliver the message in a healthy way that honors both people?
I ran into a friend at church and he texted me, “Hey, it was so good seeing you, shall we do coffee soon?” I laid my phone aside and thought: I know I would love to meet up with him, but I am in a season where I am juggling too many different things, plus I am transitioning. I asked God, “Is this someone you want me to pour into?” I didn’t experience a ‘yes’ from Him. Without His confirmation I knew that as a friend it wasn’t the best time to invest deeper in this particular friendship. So I texted him this reply; “Hey Brad! It was so good seeing you! With different commitments these last months here in Phoenix, I won’t be able to meet, but I think you are amazing and hope you are doing really well! Are you still planning on moving back?”
What I wanted to make sure was that I would edify him, express my heart toward him, but also be clear and open that it would not work out to meet him. [On a side note, I actually ran into him in a coffee bar a little while later…]
What I am getting at is this: No matter what kind of connection you have with a person, we can always make sure we communicate clearly, with great love and express our hearts well. We can mean what we communicate. And when we say that we are not able to meet with a person because we have other things we are saying ‘yes’ to in this season, we are not rejecting that person – we are empowering the person with an honest answer and giving the person the honor he or she is worthy of!
Again, as my friend once said to me, “The most attractive quality people could have nowadays is to mean what they say.” Don’t be afraid of giving a yes or a no, just mean it.
I hope you enjoyed this blog series and my practical examples of healthy communication. I hope it has encouraged and empowered you to be the greatest, most loving communicator you can be to those around you.