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12 Struggles Only Tidy People Would Understand

12 Struggles Only Tidy People Would Understand

When my uncle visited the UK in the 1930s, he threw away an empty cigarette packet. A lady, who was passing, picked it up and said “Is this yours?” My uncle replied “Yes, but I don’t want it.” The lady snootily replied “And nether do we” as she proffered the empty packet to my astounded uncle. He always claimed that this lesson on tidiness was never forgotten. I am not so sure but my uncle’s house was much tidier than ours. However, I suspect my aunt and my obsessively tidy cousin had a lot to do with that, somehow. If you are tidy like them, you will resonate with the struggles that tidy people can only understand.

1. You fear the apocalypse is near

You know when friends say that they cannot perform basic chores like doing the laundry and are not comfortable with washing machines, a shiver goes down your spine. This is when you think that the preppers are right and the end is really imminent.

2. You do not suffer from a disorder

By now, you are sick and tired of your loved ones and friends telling you that you are on the Obsessively Compulsive Disorder (OCD) spectrum. Depending on their mood, you are mildly affected or you are so deranged that you need treatment. But you only want everything nice and tidy. You fight down the resentment, dislike and even hatred.

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3. You know that nobody else can meet your standards

You look at the so-called tidy room or cleaned up kitchen. You immediately see crumbs on the floor and reach for the brush. You even start thinking about cleaning down the draining board and just doing a quick tidy up. You decide that silence is golden yet again and retreat defeated.

4. You have a phobia about open drawers and cupboards

Perhaps it is a bit obsessive but how can all those things be left like that? You close them immediately. Then you have to decide whether it is worth nagging your significant other for the 1,199th time. Those drawers and cupboards cannot survive when open so you feel quite justified as you slam them shut.

5. You wish empty containers would just disappear

You see the empty packets lying around abandoned in the fridge or cabinets. They are empty so they should not be there. You cannot understand what logic or reasoning people are using when they never put them in the garbage.

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6. You are tired of homeless objects

Clothes, books, dishes, and cutlery. Those lovely things once had a home. That home was comfortable and tidy! Now these objects are all like abandoned waifs and strays and you are the only one who cares about rehousing them.

7. You try so hard not to be judgemental

God knows how difficult it is! You resist for the millionth time using words like untidy, messy, dirty, sloppy when talking to your loved ones but you do not always succeed. You do wish that you could work together as a team but most of the other family members seem to be ready for an interstellar experience.

8. You could open a household cleaning store

Cleanliness is next to godliness so you have stocked up on every cleaning material imaginable. Of course you have to put up with all the jokes about opening a shop and so on. You just smile affably while you polish, tidy, dust, and wash even more.

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9. You hate being invited to lunch

It does not always happen. Some of your hosts are quite tidy. But when you are invited to lunch at a messy person’s house, the torture you endure goes off the scale. You avert your eyes from the mess but it is everywhere. You try looking at the ceiling but there are cobwebs there. There is nowhere safe so you keep your eyes on your host or on your lap. I still think about my friend who had to endure lunch, knowing that the host was putting the dirty dishes in the bidet!

10. You blame the Internet

All the mess addicts you know are probably spending far too much time hanging out online. You resist the evangelical approach to try and convert them and just shrug your shoulders. Social media is just a tool to use wisely or foolishly. Now, if they only used some of that Facebook time in cleaning and tidying up, everyone would be much happier.

11. You fantasize about a huge de-cluttering event

You dream about de-cluttering. This could be the event of the year. Imagine getting rid of all that junk, housing everything decently and buying lovely storage units in which to put everything. Discarding old books, papers and clothes is a joy. Dream on!

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12. You may be a little obsessive

You have to admit that life is not so black and white. But the philosophy which teaches that messiness is a problem and tidiness is the solution is still enormously appealing. Now, why can’t everyone be neat and tidy?

Featured photo credit: Topiary/xlibber via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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