When you talk to someone you don’t know, or barely know, and their meaning isn’t clear, you can:
When you talk to a family member, it’s a different situation. You have years of history together and you’re going to see them again. Ignoring it may not be an option, depending on how casual the conversation is.
There are several possible reasons that their meaning isn’t clear:
The trap that we create for ourselves is creating an interpretation in our own mind. We basically tell ourselves that we know what they are thinking. But we don’t.
Here are some possible strategies to avoid interpreting:
Notice how you feel. If you’re reacting, get proactive.
Leave the past in the past. Treat this moment as if it is the first time.
Ask with genuine curiosity. “I want to be sure I understand what you mean. Could you clarify that for me?”
DO NOT say: “What do you mean by that?”