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Knowing when to be more direct and straightforward is a balance in all relationships-new or old. It is not my style to be conversationally direct unless provoked or I’m angry. As I raise my teenagers, however, I’m direct when needed, but I’m also known to provide all the context clues and allow them the lee-way to figure out certain experiences on their own.
To be honest, I have my occasional conversational meanderings. My trouble is I can spend too much energy trying to convey a thought to someone with style and grace, that I sometimes miss the opportunity to be direct, succinct, on-point, and absolute. Below is a case in point.
Over this past summer, I was gently scolded (in a fatherly way) by a long-time client who is an octogenarian. We were revisiting what would happen when he passed away. He wanted to know how his wife would continue receiving their income stream and other retirement benefits they had accumulated. During the course of this conversation, I kept referring to his death as his “passing away.” After a while, he finally had enough of me saying “passing away” and said Matt, “I’m going to DIE, but hopefully not today or tomorrow.” He asked me, “and where am I passing to or passing by; the bus station, the airport on my way to check out?” He said, with a quiet confidence, “I know where I’m going at my death.” He said, “I will die and you can refer to my passing as my death, there’s no need to be gingerly about it.”
His point was well taken, it was unnecessary to be so sensitive to the issue as if he hadn’t thought about his own mortality. His point too was that it was almost impolite to be so delicate with a known fact—we’ve had a long established relationship. Ultimately, what he was trying to communicate to me was that we didn’t reconcile time in the same way, not because of our age difference but because if I didn’t come to the end of my meeting soon, he was going to die of hunger.
Be direct, succinct and on-point, you’ll help your relationships live longer.
Peace & Prosperity,
Matthew D. Peck