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I don't mind vs I don't care

posted 18 Feb 2020, 13:06 by Suzi Wallis   [ updated 18 Feb 2020, 13:09 ]
man using headphones shouting beside wallWhen we are trying to support a friend, or family member's autonomy, we may, with the best of intentions, send the message that we don't care about them. This is due to a subtle difference between the phrase "I don't mind" and "I don't care". The first one shows flexibility of thinking, a respect for the other person's autonomy, and a support of their choices. The second can deliver the message "I don't care about you". Although that's not usually the intention, small differences in phrasing, tone and volume, can make a huge difference to how your message is received.

Making eye contact, touching the person gently in a neutral zone (shoulder, upper arm) if you are on touching terms with them, keeping the volume as low as possible for the physical situation, putting away any devices (and ensuring they are on silent) - these are all vital signals that you care about the person and how your message is received.

If the response you observe isn't what you expected, chances are it hasn't been interpreted as you expected. The sooner you clarify, offer to re-deliver the message, and/or carry out a repair attempt, the stronger your connection with your conversational partner will remain.

Suzi Wallis | Feb 2020

photo credit | Guillaume de Germain | Unsplash