In this past week, there has been a common theme of communication problems with the couples with which I am working. Specifically, making assumptions.
Many of you have likely heard the saying, don’t make assumptions because they make an
ASS out of U and ME.
It can be a good guideline, though not completely bad or avoidable. I usually tell folks there are some safe assumptions in relationships. For example, if you are out to eat and a family member is in the bathroom when the server takes drink orders, and if you know that person’s usual drink, you can safely assume ordering that drink for them would be okay.
A common mistake I have seen this week, and over the years, is that folks believe they know what a person is thinking or means by their words and/or actions. Whether you know someone for 6 months, 6 years, or 6 decades, there is no guarantee your assumptions are correct.
Best practice is to ask for clarification.
Some ways to do this include:
- I think I heard you say…., is this correct?
- The story in my head is…., is this correct?
- My assumption is…., is this correct?
Notice the commonalities between these examples is two-fold. First, speaking from the first-person perspective. You are sharing your thoughts. Second, the double-checking. Ask for validation of your perspective while also giving the second person a chance to correct your assumption.
The first part of communication is being a good listener. Being a good listener means you must make sure you hear and process the information being shared correctly.
Try to engage with others with an open mind and approach with curiosity. Stay tuned for more thoughts about communication on Relationship Wisdom Wednesdays.
creating closeness and transforming relationships from the inside out.