Permission Slips: How To Say “I love you,” But Also, “You suck.”
Written by an average human being with zero expertise on healthy communication but who is also trying.
Before demoting myself, I was a shift leader at a local branch of a widely known coffee company. During my training, my boss and I had multiple conversations about my new responsibilities which included my communication with coworkers and customers alike.
Simultaneously, in my personal life, my fiance, then boyfriend, and I were busy working through some of the harder times in our own communication journey. So the strategy that my boss shared with me, the one I'll be passing along to you today, was one that really impacted my life in all aspects.
What is it you may wonder?
(More like why is this writer taking forever to get to the point? A: For the delusions of my own cleverness)
But anyways, the strategy is Permission Slips: Clarifying your intentions before you have hard conversations.
It can also be looked at as just general reassurance. If you have been in a rocky relationship, especially one that's been rocky for longer than you're comfortable with sharing, something like a permission slip can be a life changer.
Basically what a permission slip is, is a moment you and the person you're communicating with take to state reassurances and intentions.
"I just want you to know that I love you and I value you your opinion but we need to have a hard conversation so we both can feel at ease."
"I want you to know that I respect you as a coworker and as a friend but we need to have a conversation about this specific behaviour that you exhibit in order to make both our professional and personal relationship stronger and/or more comfortable."
It may seem a little silly. I know the first time I tried to implement it into a conversation with my fiance that I felt like it was unneccessary, like he should already know that I love him and the silly problem we are experiencing has no lasting effect on our overall relationship. But, in reality, I think we both needed it.
When things have been rocky for while, sometimes just telling someone from the beginning that they're still willing to work though things and fight for your relationship can ease the burden of some of us more paranoid people with trust issues.
Or maybe all they need to hear from you is your intention or the goal you hope to achieve by having that conversation.
"Hey, buddy. I wanted to sit down and talk to you for minute. I know that you've been feeling left out lately so my intention is to make you understand that we want you to spend time with us if that's what you want to do."
"Ma'am, I understand where you're coming from. I'm hoping we can have this conversation so we are on the same page and I can figure out what I can do to make this the best experience for you."
Just taking the time to say a little reassurance and to state your intentions can set the tone for the whole interaction and encourage healthy communication.
I thought it was pretty great.