Mediation and Business Consulting by Kathleen Kauth.
Have you ever been in a situation with another individual where you have absolutely no idea what they are thinking? Many times in relationships (whether professional or personal), people assume that the other person knows what they are thinking. There seems to be a subconscious need to be understood based on pure observation.
Often, individuals assume their body language, tone, or comments should be enough to convey what they are really feeling. Those things can definitely indicate that someone is upset, but what is often overlooked is that others most likely won't understand WHY that individual is upset.
When someone can tell that another person is upset or irritated, they may ask if something is wrong. If the person replies "nothing" but there clearly is something wrong, it leaves the questioner a few options:
Neither one of these are great options, primarily because there is not enough information to make an informed decisions.
What adults need to remember, (and kids need to be taught) is that no one can read minds. In the absence of information, much energy is expended, oftentimes in the wrong direction, to try to right some perceived wrong. If you are upset about something or with someone, you owe it to yourself and them to be direct and forthcoming.
Here are some tips:
If someone asks you "what's wrong" and you aren't ready to talk, or it's none of their business, try some of these responses:
If you ARE ready to talk:
And remember – the time and energy expended either fruitlessly trying to find out what is wrong, or stewing about a perceived conflict can never be recovered. It is always better to address a conflict directly.
Go here for these superb one line sound bites describing each of these psychological traps in negotiation... Partisan perceptions * People tend to "see" what they expect and wish to...By Geoff Sharp