I have never been good with hints. I don’t give them nor do I catch them. My communication style is direct so I have received a lot of “kicks” under the table when the hints and double-talking are flowing nearby. I know there are others like me and this can be a fatal flaw when relating with someone who has a different communication style.
I was reminded of this the other day while having lunch alone and using my “writer” observation skills. There were two guys having lunch together at a table near my table. I listened to their conversation which became very interesting…. (this is not eavesdropping but working on my dialogue techniques).
One of them was in a long-term marriage and the other one was divorced and exclusively dating. The meat of the conversation went something like this:
“So, how long have you and Kathy been dating?” married Joe asked.
“For five years”, divorced Sam responded.
“Wow! That long?”
“Well, I told her I would marry her tomorrow if she would sign a pre-nup but she wouldn’t do it. So, we just continue to date.”
Of course, my writer’s imagination took off and I started building a story in my mind as to why Kathy would continue to date Sam. The summary of my thoughts was that she thinks he will change his mind one day and marry her without the pre-nuptial agreement. From the tone that was in his voice, I can tell her that he will never change his mind.
Sam went on to talk about his divorce and how he had to give the first wife all of their real property to safeguard his 401K. Also, he went into some details about his 80 year-old widower father who was about to remarry and how he had the father sign over his real property to him/other siblings and directed him to acquire a pre-nup before remarriage. Surely, if Kathy knew all of these details she should have a clear picture of her chances of marrying Sam without a pre-nup.
Perhaps if Sam had been direct and told Kathy “I will never marry you unless you sign a pre-nup” Kathy would have moved on since she did not want to sign a pre-nup. Instead, she was continuing in a dead-end relationship and divorced Sam was perfectly content with the status quo.
Was this another communication disconnect or a covert manipulation? I wondered.
What do you think? Communication disconnect? Covert Manipulation?
Are you good with hints?
Do you prefer direct communication? Even when it is disappointing news?