Computer geeks often don’t know how to express their feelings very well. If The Nerd Handbook rings a bell for you or your significant other, you know what I’m talking about. It rang true with me. The trouble I have is how to deal with someone else’s feelings and figure out what the heck mine are. I had a thought the other day and so far it has helped.
I was sitting in a weekly project meeting where we discuss things relevant to our project: bugs, releases, hiring, problems, highlights, etc… I was listening when I had the thought, “I wish feelings were as easy as software.” I had seen a colleague tweet about a software conference about feelings. Then I thought, why not?
I’ve always admired Trello as a project management tool, but haven’t had a really good, solid opportunity to use it. I’ve heard friends and co-workers say they use it at home for shopping and to-do lists. What if I could use it to help me talk about feelings with my wife? I setup a short appointment (20-45 min) 3-4 times a week on our calendar. I created a private Trello board that we could use to guide our discussions. I created lists like: To Discuss, Follow Up, Completed and Goals. The first card I created was titled “Trello” and had a checklist to show her how to use Trello. Next was “Outline”, how would these discussions go.
The goal is for each of us to put a few things at the top of the “To Discuss” list for each session. It can be anything, from bugeting (our first item) to feelings about kids or each other or the in-laws. If you need to noodle on something for a day, move it to “Follow Up”. When you’re done, move it to “Completed”. If you decide that the item discussed is really a goal you both want to pursue (you can see where this is headed), move it to “Goals”.
For me it is helpful to have an idea ahead of time what the other wants to talk about. I’m not as anxious about how to react or what to say. It’s nerdy too as there are good mobile apps, so you don’t have to be in front of a computer to add ideas.
Not to say that this replaces all communication, but for me it’s a good start and for my wife it’s a relief.
“Conflict is inevitable, but drama is a choice” @ChrisBrownOnAir