Friday, July 9, 2010
Assumptions are the termites of relationships
“If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance”
In the relationships in your life how many times do you make assumptions about what people will like or not like, how they will react to an event or something you need to tell them or even what they are thinking, what motivates them, what their desires are?
When we get to know someone and we have been in long term relationship, be that husband and wife, parent and child, siblings, people we work with every day, etc, we tend to believe we know what they think and how they will react.
When we are working on developing a relationship in any way, weather it be mending a broken relationship or doing things to strengthen an existing relationship or developing a brand new relationship if we do things with the wrong assumptions about the other person in place we are very likely to not be successful in our endeavor.
When we are building our relationships if we build on a foundation of assumptions the relationship at some point falters and begins to subside because the assumptions we made were incorrect.
The other thing that happens is maybe we built a great foundation for our relationship, no assumptions were made, the foundation is rock solid, however over the years we assume we know the person so well that we know exactly how the feel, think and react. One might think they are safe to make assumptions in this case however what we often overlook is that people change. We change all the time and what we liked and the way we reacted a year ago may be quite different from the way we think and react today. As individuals we grow and change, if the other person does not recognize the changes and assumes that everything is always the same then the assumptions they make can often begin to unravel the relationship.
Bottom line, weather you are new in a relationship or you are in 40 year relationship it is rarely safe to make assumptions about the other persons, feelings, thoughts, reactions and behavior.
How do we remove our assumptions? The first step is we need to become aware of what we are assuming. Many of our assumptions are so ingrained that we may not even recognize we are making an assumption about someone until we are called on it by the other person. It is critical the health of relationships that we become aware of assumptions that we are making.
Once we are aware of the assumptions we are making, we then need to overcome our assumptions by asking questions. The simplest way to dump our assumptions is to ask questions. Note, if you frame the questions correctly you will come across as caring and loving. Your questions will be received as having a sincere interest in the other person and this will strengthen and in some case revitalize your relationship.