Wearing dice on my head since 2008 Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart. Randomly amazed.

Communicating Clearly: "Next weekend"

· by roy · Read in about 2 min · (270 Words)
Categories: Just Another Day | Tags: communication

Had a slightly confusing conversation a couple of weeks ago with my mom which went something like:

Me: “Oh, the bar exam starts next weekend, <my cousin> is in Manila a week early.”

Ma: “No, it’s this weekend.”

Me: “That’s what I said, next weekend.”

Ma: “No, this weekend, on the 4th.”

Me: “That’s what next weekend means!”

Ma: “No, next weekend is the 11th.”

“Next weekend” is definitely confusing, so I should avoid using it in the future for the much clearer and more definitive “this weekend” which is unambiguous when used on a weekday. Or to avoid any semblance of doubt I could specify the actual date, “this weekend, on the 4th” as my mom did.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a client some time ago (paraphrased because we don’t have enough Slack archives for me to find the conversation that far back):

Me: “Ok, our dev estimates that this can be done in two days. We can have it ready for testing by next Thursday.”

Client: “Why would it take so long? Is no one available to do it now?”

Me: “What do you mean? We’re going to start it immediately, Thursday is two days from now.”

Client: “Oh you meant this Thursday, the 15th… I see.”

So, he initially assumed that I meant Thursday next week. While for me my usage of “next” is perfectly logical according to the definition of “immediately succeeding”, I can understand where it might cause some confusion. So from now on, I should remember to avoid using “next” and prefer to specify explicitly what I’m talking about.

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