Have you ever been baffled by someone making decisions on your behalf based on their assumptions?
As Orville Wright wisely said, “𝘐𝘧 𝘸𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘮𝘱𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘦𝘱𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘴 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘦, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘩𝘰𝘱𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘥𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦.”
Have you ever discovered after the fact that someone had made a decision for you and defended it by saying, “𝘐 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘰𝘬𝘢𝘺 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘪𝘵?” Me, too.
The reason this happens is because of what I refer to as the conversation of one. Meaning: a person, in her own mind, plays out the conversation she believes she’d have with the other person, complete with the other person’s answers and makes a decision based on that conversation.
Here’s an example: Let’s say she wants to invite a friend to a movie and, without even asking the friend, she has this conversation, “𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘐 𝘢𝘴𝘬 𝘊𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘭? 𝘞𝘦𝘭𝘭, 𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵, 𝘴𝘩𝘦’𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘺 𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘩𝘦’𝘴 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘣𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘴𝘰 𝘴𝘩𝘦’𝘥 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘴𝘢𝘺 ‘𝘕𝘰.’ 𝘐’𝘭𝘭 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘢𝘴𝘬 𝘑𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘥.” Make sense?
Later she finds out Cheryl was not only available but would have loved to see the movie with her.
This is an all too common habit practiced by men and women alike and is a significant saboteur of healthy communication in any relationship.
Why, then, when these assumptions so often lead to hurt feelings do people continue to do this? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
Here’s a primary reason I’ve found that explains this. People enjoy predictability and base their “𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘯𝘦” on how their friends have responded to similar situations in the past. The problem with this is that people can and often do change their minds.
The reality is that the past doesn’t equal the present or the future. We make our decisions in the present based on those circumstances. The principle I employ to avoid “𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘰𝘯𝘦” in my own mind is this: though s/he has responded in one way in the past, I’m going to ask to see if that still holds true for him/her. Make sense?
Always ask to see if s/he still feels that way. I understand, however, and have experienced those who get upset when I ask because their feelings, in fact, haven’t changed. They offer responses such as, “𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘥𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘐’𝘮 𝘨𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘳?” To which I reply: “𝘐 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘰𝘰 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘮𝘦 𝘐 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘺 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘥.”
Don’t let assumptions dictate your relationships and decisions. Knowing this is happening in your relationships and doing nothing to change it is self-sabotaging. Take charge of your communication skills and create healthier interactions with your spouse, parents or children. As your Mentor, I will guide you through the maze of assumptions and help you engage in meaningful conversations. Are you ready to stop walking on eggshells and embrace the change? Message me for more info.