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Clear Is Kind Communication With Brad Barrett

In this semi-solo episode, Brad Barrett joins Jillian in the studio to discuss communication and an example he was involved in with Jillian in the past. The theme of the episode is all about how being clear equals being kind, and the focus is on three different things: clear boundaries, clear expectations, and clear preferences.

“When we’re honest and transparent, that is kindness.”

About a year ago, Jillian sent an email to Brad about how she was thinking of putting together a panel of speakers for FinCon, a financial bloggers event, and she asked him to be a speaker on the panel. Brad was under the impression that it was Jillian’s idea and that she would be moderating it, so he agreed to participate. While Jillian did organize everything, she wasn’t allowed to be a participant on the panel, so she had to replace herself.

Brad is a people-pleaser, and it’s hard for him to say “no.” He didn’t want to speak at FinCon in the first place, but since Jillian was his friend, and he thought it was her panel, he agreed to do it. When the event took place, Brad was frustrated when he realized the panel wasn’t what he expected. Both parties had failed to make their expectations clear.

We can have good intentions, but sometimes, it can be hard to make sure we’re clear with people so that they understand our expectations and we can understand theirs. If Brad had explained to Jillian that he wasn’t expecting to speak, but that he would like to since she was involved, adding that detail would have made everything clear.

“A boundary isn’t just that I’m going to go to this or I’m not going to do this and being inflexible. Sometimes a boundary is saying ‘This isn’t my preference; this isn’t normally how I like to do things.’ and just being honest about that.”

The best way to be clear with people about your expectations and what works for you is to tell them. For example, if you are an impromptu person like Jillian, you can tell them that you’re available if they need help at the last minute.

For people-pleasers, Jillian is careful to ensure she is being extra clear and honest with her expectations and how important the favor is to her, whether it’s not very important or extremely important.

“Coming from the people pleaser’s point of view, saying no is just such a difficult thing…the honest ‘no’ is better than the dishonest ‘maybe.’”

Clear can be hard for some people, but clear is kind, and it makes things better for all parties involved. Jillian finds that she trusts people more who are clear and honest because she can trust that they know their boundaries, their expectations, and their preferences, and that they aren’t afraid to communicate that to her.

The opposite of clearly knowing what the other person wants is having to try and guess what they want. Does that time really work for them? Do they really want to do it?

“Ask me for anything. And it’s not up to you to know my boundaries, to know my preferences, to know my expectations; it’s up to me to just be clear about them, and never have that risk of frustration.”

Evading the truth of your expectations in order to make people feel good isn't healthy–it’s dishonest, and is, in a sense, a way of trying to manage their feelings for them. Being clear is something that does require practice, especially for those who are people-pleasers, but being clear is what is fair and kind to others and ourselves.

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