Conflict # 24 – Do Not Assume
A middle-aged client of mine is struggling with the hard reality that, after twenty years of marriage, his wife wants out. He has repeatedly said, “I don’t know what she thinks about the fact that I work with this pretty woman. I don’t know – she might be mad about something else. I assume she’s jealous and she wants me to find another job.” That is the short version of this conflict.
Does this puzzle you as much as it puzzles me? After all these years, he still operates on the assumption he knows what she’s thinking. How does this happen? How can you live with someone for that length of time and not figure out how to be direct with each other?
Whether you’re arguing or not, never assume that you understand what the other person means. When you do that, you jump to conclusions, which are probably wrong, and you may think you’re being mistreated. You say or do something, based on that assumption. And then? See my last post, Defensiveness.
If you find yourself regularly wondering, “What did he mean by that look?”, or “I can’t tell if she’s being sarcastic or serious …” Don’t wonder. Ask!
The direct, open and honest approach is generally the best policy. This eliminates the stress that comes with confusion and misunderstanding. Now, I can understand that being direct is not always easy. But with a little coaching, anyone can enjoy the freedom that comes with being direct and honest. If you truly want to ease this major source of tension, stop all that wondering and know for certain what he or she is thinking … call 219-309-3928 for a free consultation. Why put it off? This could make a huge difference in your relationships and in your life.
Thanks for reading!