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February 18, 2024 4 mins

Stop expecting people to read your mind

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Welcome to Before Breakfast, a production of iHeartRadio. Good Morning,
This is Laura. Welcome to the Before Breakfast podcast. Today's
tip is to make your expectations and needs explicit. In
other words, don't just drop hints. We've all found ourselves

disappointed because someone didn't live up to our expectations, only
to realize later that the other person had not actually
understood our expectations or realized that we needed help. Whether
it's assuming that your team member will let you know
in advance if he's not going to meet an important deadline,
or that your partner will send flowers on your anniversary.

We're taking a risk if we have strongly held expectations
for someone's behavior but don't let the person know about them.
Other people simply cannot read our minds, and we waste
all kinds of time behaving as though they can, and
then recovering from the disappointment or dropped balls when it
turns out they can't. The only solution to this is

to stop dropping hints. When you want something. Everyone is
better off if you just say it. Well. Easier said
than done, of course, sometimes people feel awkward asking for
help or stating their hopes or expectations directly. Does it
sound pushy? Is it insulting to suggest someone wouldn't know

that you like meetings to start on time, or that
you expect the person who finishes the paper towel roll
will replace it. But if we beat around the bush
and drop hints, other people may misunderstand what we mean
and the results may not be what we intend. So
here are some ways to raise issues directly. Think clear
collaborative congenial. That means using direct language, assuming that you

and the other person are mutually focused on good outcomes
and keeping the tone positive and friendly. Since on deadlines,
you could say I'm counting on being able to review
your report Monday afternoon. That's the time I've carved out
to work on this because I'm attending a conference later
in the week. If you foresee a problem getting their
report to me by lunchtime on Monday, please let me

know in advance. Or for household expectations, I would really
appreciate it if you change the sheets and took out
the trash the last day your house sitting because we'll
be getting home late. Would that be doable? Or when
you're asking for affection and support from family and friends.
Next Tuesday is my birthday. I'd love to celebrate it

with you. I was thinking a small group of us
would have lunch at the sushi place near my office,
but I'm open to other suggestions. The general approach should
be to share the hope, expectation, or need and then
invite the other person to give a thumbs up or
weigh In. That way, you're not assuming anything. Instead, you're

sharing your expectations in a way that gives the other
person the chance to confirm that these expectations are shared,
or to suggest a different plan that's not pushy instead.
This approach greatly increases the chances that your needs are met.
It's hard to see the downside in that. So today,
if you find yourself hoping that someone will do something,

why not stop and ask the person directly. Save the
mind reading for carnivals and everyone will be better off
in the meantime. This is Laura. Thanks for listening, and
here's to making the most of our time. Hey, everybody,

I'd love to hear from you. You can send me
your tips, your questions, or anything else. Just connect with
me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at Before Breakfast Pod.
That's b E. The number four, then Breakfast pod. You
can also shoot me an email at Before Breakfast podcast
at iHeartMedia that Before Breakfast is spelled out with all

the letters. Thanks so much. Should I look forward to
staying in touch. Before Breakfast is a production of iHeartRadio.
For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts,
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Laura Vanderkam

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