Mind-reading. It’s a straight-up, no joke relationship killer.
Check out this scenario:
There’s a pile of dishes in the sink.
Your partner is lying on the couch, eyeballs deep in the smartphone doing who knows what (reading Facebook, playing Clash of Clans, reading the news, email whathaveyou) and after hours of your making pointed eyes at the dishes, wishing and willing that your partner would get the hint and tidy them up, you start to angrily scrub away, fuming the entire time, with an internal narrative that goes something like:
“Do they not see me cleaning? Don’t they care? Why aren’t they helping? WTF!!!! Why do they get to sit on the couch? Why am I always the one keeping the house together and going? Don’t they know I’m busy too? I’d also like to just lie around reading! Don’t they care enough about me to help? Why don’t they get it?”
And on and on. Sound familiar?
Guess what. You can basically apply this experience to an interaction at work, an issue with a friend, a family member–you name it. The connection? Making assumptions in relationships is a very common bad habit, and one of the worst examples of how assumptions mess us up is believing that other people can read our minds. It is 100% a road to resentment and relationship ruin.
My essential tip for you: Stop it. I mean it.
Unless you’ve woken up with the magical super human power to know precisely what’s going on in your partner, friend or co-worker’s mind, you can be absolutely sure that they also lack this power. Further, my experience working with many clients has shown that the stomping around about the pile of dishes in the sink (or the laundry pile, or the office mess, or the friend-date flake, or fill in the blank) is typically emblematic of non-communicated larger relationship issues.
What to do about it, you ask? Well, for the sake and health of your relationship, I urge you to TALK to the other person. Get curious and ASK them questions about their thinking and their perspective. Work (and it is work) to SHELVE your resentment, and without finger-pointing let your them in about how your experience of asymmetry in the relationship impacts you. Together, you can more readily and productively get to the bigger picture of what can be working better in your relationship and co-create a plan to clean that up.
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