Whenever someone does not respond to your email, text or call, where does your mind take you? Do you get angry, disheartened, concerned or upset?
We know that normally our brain fills in uncertainty with negative thoughts. We assume the worst and when the person does respond, we have a little attitude or caution. This little phrase, “I’m puzzled…?” can keep your brain from going to those places.
One of my sons is a trumpet player and before he came home from college this summer, he contacted our local orchestra leader about volunteering to play for the community production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” The leader was very appreciative and told Nathaniel that he would get back with him.
Four weeks rocked along and he had not contacted him, so Nathaniel thought the worst. “I can’t believe he didn’t call me back and at least tell me that he didn’t need me!” I asked Nathaniel, “Why don’t you call him” You never know what might have happened.” Reluctantly, Nathaniel called only to leave a voicemail. The next day, the orchestra leader’s wife calls and says, “I am so sorry my husband did not get back with you. He’s been extremely sick for the last month and, in fact, his tongue is paralyzed and he can’t talk with anyone, but he does want you to play in the orchestra.”
So how do you think my son felt? Like a jerk.
“I’m puzzled…?” can keep your brain from assuming the worst and be a gentle reminder to the person that you need a response from them. Use it as a tool to maintain healthy communication in your relationships.