Saturday, February 21, 2009

Miscommunication, part 2

I am a thinker.
Our pre-cana counselors called an internal processor.  
Roger was a talker.
They called him an external processor.
But even before pre-cana, we both kind of knew this.
They gave us tips though to help us deal with each other's communication needs.
It was great.

[My good friend Siobhan is also a thinker/internal processor.  
It can be interesting to be friends with someone who is like me.  But at least work, we joked about if we thought about sending an email a whole bunch or we actually did it.  Thank God for email programs saving what emails we actually sent and not the ones we just thought about sending.  I once dated an internal processor.  I do not recommend that.  It was excruciating. Nothing could be done without thinking about it beforehand.]

Being an internal processor basically means that before I talk, I think about it a lot.
I analyze it in my head.  I analyze all decisions before I commit to them and I think before I just start talking about things most of the time. 
And 90% of the time when it comes out of my mouth, I have already made up my mind.  I have already weighed the pros and cons.
Roger and others like him on the other hand does all those things while talking.
It can be very confusing to someone like me who thinks when someone is talking they must have already planned on doing what they are saying.

Here are two relatively easy examples our counselors gave us.
First, someone asks me, "Do you want chicken or fish for dinner?"
Inside my head: hmm, well, did I have chicken yesterday? Am I planning on having chicken tomorrow? What kind of chicken? But do I really want fish?  What kind of fish?
It all goes on very quickly, but I must think about the options.  

Second example, Roger starts to think about doing some landscaping outside. 
He says to me "Man, we really need to decide where to put the aloes. Do you think they would look nice under that tree? What about one over here and one over there?"  
He is thinking about in the future but for an internal processor like me he has already thought about this and that we are going to do that now, not in the future.  

After pre-cana, Roger and I would joke about these things.  He would ask me if I wanted to do Universal Studios or the beach.  Then he would look at me again and say "chicken or fish."
Roger would start talking about putting wood floors down in the house and I would get all excited thinking it would be next weekend.  Then I would ask "In ten years or tomorrow?"

It really helped our communication and less miscommunications most of the time.  
However, they would still be those times where I would think about going to Home Depot a lot.
I would think about how Roger would react when I told him about going and telling him the things we need to buy.
The next day I would be like "Dude, why are you just sitting there, remember we are going to Home Depot?"
And Roger would smile at me.
"Inside voice or outside voice? Did you just think about telling me or did you really tell me?"
"Hmm, inside voice I guess.  Can't you hear my inside voice yet?"
"No dear."  

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