Guilt is a silent energy sink. I feel guilty for various reasons every single day. Guilty for eating extra carbs, for watching an extra show on Netflix, for not exercising enough and for not spending enough time with family and friends. The last is the worst of all. You feel guilty and then people also make you feel guilty. In an attempt to resolve regular guilt in my relationships, I started to look for a framework to help me manage my relationships better.
I made a list of 25 people (friends/family) that I regularly stay in touch with on email/call/phone. And then I plotted them to figure out which quadrant they belong to, so I have a method to manage my relationships and be guilt-free.
This graph is from Norman and Stephanie — Relating between the Lines
Norman also shared some questions to ponder for each type of relationship:
No points for guessing who is on the top right!
No people in Outgrown Nostalgia or Emotional Potholes in my immediate circle. So that's some relief there.
Emails/messages can be ambiguous sometimes—its difficult to gauge the tone, the emotion of the sender. There are times I have lost sleep over some messages I received and I'm pretty sure I may have done that at some point or the other to people in my team. Digital messages are misinterpreted because of the medium they are sent in, the brevity of the message or the punctuations/emojis used.
I found this matrix very useful in handling ambiguity both as a sender and receiver.
Trust and Power Matrix, Source: Erica Dhawan 'Digital Body Language'
A: You have More Power, Low Trust: It is important to show others why they are appreciated. Simple things like — Thank you for your message or I can't take a look at this now but I'll get back to you soon.
B: You have More Power, High Trust: You may become comfortable overusing brevity in your communication with this person.
C:You have Less Power, Low Trust: Prioritize quick, thoughtful responses to tasks and don't be afraid to ask for clarity.
D: You have Less Power, High Trust: Don't drop your guard and let your messages and work get sloppy!
(Coming soon - an analysis of my work relationships— that way I will know what tone to use in all the emails I send and I will know how to perceive ambiguity in all the emails I receive!)