The power of confusion

Do you ever feel like a broken record? Does it seem like you’re making the same complaints over and over again and no one is listening? Do your children or partner tune out when you try to explain what’s upsetting you? Do you find that it’s just too hard to be assertive with your loved ones? Perhaps it’s time for a new strategy – one I like to call the power of confusion.

When your child behaves badly when you’re at a friend’s house, try looking confused. If you say anything, let it be along the lines of: Why are you behaving like this? What’s going on? By acting confused, you’re still letting your child know that their behaviour is inappropriate, but you’re also giving them the message that you expected so much more from them. It’s also less embarrassing for everyone if you act confused than it is to lose your cool with your child.

When you’re upset by something your partner has said or done, try expressing confusion instead of pure anger or hurt. Saying something like: I don’t understand. Why would you say that? What’s going on? often prompts an explanation and apology far quicker than shooting back a nasty retort.

And if you experience terrible service in a restaurant or in a store, you’re far more likely to get an apology and see an improvement in the service if you tell them that you’re confused. Try saying: Is something going on behind the scenes? I don’t understand why I’m not being served.

When I recently tried to assertively ask for a reduced electricity rate from my usual carrier, the request fell on deaf ears. But when I expressed confusion over why I wasn’t being enticed to stay with the carrier instead of switching to another company, the offered discounts couldn’t come fast enough. Ah – the power of confusion.

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