Tip of the Week
Tip: Keep “this” and “next” both straight!
Most of you know that I am a nut about being clear. I have spent my whole life in confusion because unfortunately, I just don’t grasp things very quickly. However, when I do understand something and it is clear to me, then I am able to do a training seminar on it. I guess that is the good and bad news of my “comprehension disability.”
Today I want to discuss something that I think could make a big difference in your life if you will pay attention to it, and that is being clear on the difference between “this” and “next” when in a conversation with other people.
Suppose you called the doctor’s office to make an appointment and the receptionist said, “Yes, we can schedule you for next Wednesday.” Now, do you think that means this coming Wednesday or the following Wednesday? Or, does it mean the next time we have a Wednesday or the next Wednesday after this one? Do you see how confusing that is? If the receptionist said, “I can schedule an appointment for this Wednesday,” there would be no confusion because you know “this Wednesday” means exactly that – this coming Wednesday.
So many people get things mixed up because they don’t take the time to ask and clarify whether next means the next time a day occurs or the following one after this one -because the one that’s coming is this one, but the day after that is the next one. If you are confused, keep reading! I think it will clear up by the end of this Tip.
If I called you and ask if we could meet for lunch this Friday, you would know exactly what day I wanted to meet for lunch; it would be this coming Friday. But, if I called and asked you to meet for lunch next Friday, would you wonder if I were talking about the next time we have a Friday or the following Friday? That is where confusion occurs.
Now, the reason I am making a big deal out of this is because in nine times out of ten, people will say next when they actually mean this. I promise that if you start listening for this, you will be amused and find that it is easy to clear up the confusion by simply asking for clarification.
To illustrate my point; I know of a gentleman who was to have a job interview in another state. He had called on Monday to set up the interview and the secretary said they could make an appointment for “next Friday at 10:00 a.m.” So, on Thursday he flew to that state, got a hotel room and went for the job interview on Friday morning at 10:00 o’clock. When he arrived for the interview he was told that the gentleman with whom he was supposed to meet was out of town and would not be back until Monday. Understandably upset, the man said to the secretary, “You told me I had an appointment here at 10:00.” She looked in her appointment book and said, “Yes, I see where you called on Monday and I told you that your appointment would be next Friday at 10:00 a.m. This is this Friday and next Friday is…next Friday.” So he wasted airfare, hotel and an entire trip, all because of a misunderstanding between this and next.
I don’t know about you but I don’t have time to go through life being frustrated and confused because someone said this when they meant next, or vice versa. It only takes a second to clarify and ask, “Do you mean this coming Friday or are you talking about next Friday?” Putting a date with the day will further clarify things. However, have you ever noticed how many times someone will say, “We can meet on Thursday, March 29th,” when actually March 29 is on a Friday? Then the question is, “Did they mean Thursday the 28th or Friday the 29th?” We have all had that experience where the day and date didn’t match. Something like that falls as a subcategory between this and next because there is confusion.
Now let me be perfectly clear as I wind up this tirade of a Tip. You are free to live your life how ever you desire. If you want to say this or next or this next, it is up to you. I just know that if there is a mist from the speaker, there will be a fog in the audience. It is not worth the confusion and it can all be cleared up by just saying the right word so that everyone will understand or by asking clarifying questions so that there is no confusion.
Now as you know, I started this Tip by telling you that I know I am a nut. I’m sure this Tip confirms it!
Tip: Keep “this” and “next” both straight!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm