My wise therapist – Karen – once told me that intimacy is achieved through revelation: “Think of it as InToMe-cy instead of Intimacy.”
The idea is that only by revealing what’s inside ourselves can we truly connect with others. This means looking inside and expressing what we find. Directly and simply.
There’s nothing much more intimate than home. Where everything begins and ends. And the first three rules of real estate – when it comes to meaningful and litigation-avoiding communication from Seller to Buyer – are Disclose, Disclose, Disclose.
Mr. and Mrs. Sellers have owned their home for 15 years and are downsizing because the kids are in college and they want to travel more. They’re filling out the Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement, the California-mandated form wherein sellers disclose things that might be a little (or a lot) wrong with the property.
Sally Sellers calls me.
“Hey, Cynthia,” she says, “Two years ago we had a leak in the downstairs bedroom. It happened twice during windy rainstorms. No big deal, but the carpet got a little damp. We re-sealed around the window and there was no leak this last winter. Do we need to disclose this? And, if so, how do we say it?”
My answer is “yes” and “say it like you just said it.”
Same goes for personal communications. Sally asks her therapist, “I love my friend Jane, but she’s always bailing last-minute on plans we’ve made. It’s inconvenient and annoying. What do I say to her?”
The answer is to say exactly that: “Jane, I love you, but when you cancel our plans last-minute, it’s annoying.”
There’s no need to spin it a certain way. There’s no need to dance around or squirm or mince words. Say it simply – at work, at play and at home.
As William Penn – real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, Quaker and founder of Pennsylvania – said, “Speak properly, and in as few words as you can, but always plainly; for the end of speech is not ostentation, but to be understood.”