My friend Michelle drafted an amazing request for direct communication, with examples. When she showed me her draft, I asked if I could share it here for others to use as a script, and she agreed.
These are her words:
Would you be willing to agree to take every question I ask as a request for information, not an accusation or implication of anything?
Similarly, when I tell you something, would you be willing to take it as information, not implication or pressure to do something?
The reality is, nine times out of ten, it is not meant as anything other than information. And it’s difficult for me to communicate with you if I have to anticipate layers of inference you may be applying to my words.
If you suspect that this is the one time in ten when I am implying something beyond what is actually being said or asked, I welcome you to ask directly:
“Are you trying to motivate me to take a certain action by telling me this feeling of yours?”
“By asking me this question, are you trying to suggest that it’s a bad idea?”
“When you informed me of that, it felt like you were trying to threaten me. Is that true?”
Please note that all the information we exchange is useful for then making our own genuine, compassionate decisions.