You know how I am

My friend Liz started laughing as she read her email. Another friend had sent her a screen shot of text messages where she asked her son where he was going after school. He wasn’t happy having to keep her in the loop, but he did it. And her text back to him? “Thanks. You know how I am.”

Liz chuckled at the phrase “You know how I am” because it showed her friend being honest with her son, and having the self-awareness to realize that wanting to know his whereabouts was her concern, not his. “You know how I am” is a firm message delivered in a self-deprecating wrapper. Liz’s friend realized her son might poke fun at her for using those words, but they made it clear that she needed to know where he was going. She wasn’t going to change just because it might be inconvenient for her son.

Assuming your kids listen, they may even remember “how you are” even when you don’t explicitly say so. A few days ago, my daughter went to a cafe with a friend after school. She sent me a text message saying where she was, along with “I know you like to know where I am.” I responded with a “You know how I am. Thanks :)” I was definitely smiling.

I think this phrase is equally useful in a professional setting. Imagine working with your team on an important presentation. You might insist on numerous rehearsals before the big day, even though your team feels they can manage without them. Or you might ask your team to submit expenses a few days before the deadline so that you have time to review them. Delivering these messages with a “You know how I am” firmly states your expectations while acknowledging that you are asking them to do something because of the values or concerns you have.

The next time you need to share values or change behaviors, would using “You know how I am” help deliver the message? I’d like to hear from you!

–Karen

© 2013 by Karen Catlin. All rights reserved.

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