Difficult Communications


That’s one of my homework assignments for this week. My classmates and I are supposed to read about the differences between responding versus reacting, gain a better understanding of our communication style, determine how assertive we are, and reflect on difficult communications that we have throughout the week. I had a difficult communication situation this morning (some of you might laugh and that’s fine), so I thought it might be a good idea to share.

Describe the Situation:

I was training for my 10K this morning and I got tripped up, literally. I broke my phone. Shattered. The screen is completely black and because of how they design these new models, I can’t even take the battery out to turn it off.  (Now that you’re done laughing – Yes, I’m fine. My knee is a little busted up, but thank you for asking.)

What did you really want or need? What did you actually get?

My cellphone provider doesn’t actually have a location where I live. Well, they have a small retail store inside of Radio Shack, but I’ve interacted with them and they’re not the most knowledgeable. So while at work, I tried to contact their customer service line and see how much it would cost for me to get a replacement. (I’ll be home on Saturday so I can purchase a new one then). And since I’m also trying to get off of my family’s plan and start my own, I figured this was a good enough time as any to ask about that as well. All I got was an automated system that kept asking me irrelevant questions and didn’t dispatch me to a customer service agent like I asked.

What did the other person want or need? What did they actually get?

I’m not sure what they needed. Answers to irrelevant questions. What did they actually get? I hung up.

Charlie Brown Wah Wah Wah

How did you feel during and after this time?

When it first happened I was very angry. I’m certain that I actually let out a loud disgruntled sigh because I was the only one around. Yesterday was a good day. Here I was trying to better myself and prepare for this race, and all of a sudden this happens. I took one step forward just to take two steps back. Seriously.

I was a little lost throughout my day. I’ve taken a break from social media so I’m not on my phone as often as I used to be. But there were things that I’m used to doing that I no longer could.

  • I couldn’t communicate with my family. Not that I don’t have their numbers memorized  (most of them actually don’t have my number memorized), but because I didn’t have a phone and when I did, they didn’t answer anyway. No one checks their email except my aunt so I asked her to relay the message to the others. She didn’t because she never responded to my email (in her defense, she’s very busy at work). I also tried calling a few of them from my work phone, but because they didn’t recognize the number, they didn’t answer.
  • Someone asked me for some kind of information, but I couldn’t give it to them because it was saved in my phone. So frustrating.
  • I didn’t know what time it was. I don’t really like wearing watches or jewelry in general. My stud earrings and one ring is plenty. So when I walked into my 3 o’clock meeting, I thought I was late. I had left with time to spare, but didn’t see anyone else when I arrived. And the clock outside the room was broken. FYI, I was early.
  • I realized later this afternoon that I didn’t know how I was going to wake up in the morning. Like most millennials, I use my phone for an alarm clock.
  • Once I finally got in contact with my brother so that he could update everyone else and once I got home, I started to relax. Everyone knows that I’m okay (at least I hope they do or my brother is in big trouble). Not having a phone meant fewer distractions at work. More time to be productive and more time to practice personal growth at home.

What was resolved and/or not resolved?

I still don’t have a phone. In a little bit, I’ll have a brand new alarm clock so that I can arrive on time to work.

I also realized today that my job responsibilities are changing faster than I thought. I’ll be moving over to our main office pretty soon and I think there’s a lot of questions or issues that my team still doesn’t know how to address. They don’t always listen, it goes in one ear and out the other (which says something about my level of assertiveness). So I began working on a process manual – a manual detailing all of my responsibilities, how to do them, and a tentative timeline of when to do them. I won’t always be around to answer questions or communicate for them. Hopefully this manual will serve as a useful tool for when I’m not available.


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