You expect your spouse, sister, brother, cousin, best friend—at least one of them to read your mind.
We’re all guilty of it.
We finish a visit with them and think: Why didn’t they ___?
- Comment on what I told them when I said ____?
- Pick up on how sad I am feeling?
- Know how to solve my problem?
- Realize that sending me a card would go a long way to soothing hurt feelings?
- Reassure me my new haircut is okay?
I’ll bet you can add to those random examples.
We truly do think another person should be able to sense our emotions and respond accordingly. We feel they should know what to do to fix this or that thing that’s going on with us.
How often does this approach disappoint you?
Bunches, if you are anything like me.
We cannot read others’ minds or have them read ours.
That’s not in the cards. Even if we are intuitive people, we can still miss the mark on interpreting feelings.
I pride myself on keying into people pretty well, but I know there have been many times I’ve walked away from an encounter and thought: Ut oh, I think I misunderstood _____. Sure enough, if I go back and check, the person will say, Um, yes, you didn’t quite get me that time.
When we want others to read our minds instead of being clear about what’s going on in our heads, we are laying a whole lot of responsibility on them and retaining a lot of angst in us. That’s a recipe for disaster. God gave us words (Tower of Babel pops into mind) and emotions so we can communicate with each other. Honest, undistracted talking is critical to building relationships that last. Delve beneath the surface and work to ensure you are hearing each other.
Expecting mind-reading is like taking American cultural norms to, oh let’s say … south Wales—land of the nicest people I’ve met in my travels. If we took our cowboy-can-do-anything-and-do-it-now attitude there and didn’t consider the basic kindness of these people, we would affront them. Same thing, I think, might happen if you pop an Italian into Germany for the first time. The Italians, effusive and demonstrative, might cause the typical German to step back—literally— a couple of feet to assess.
Let me know what mind-reading mishaps have crossed your path in the last week.Honest, undistracted talking is critical to building relationships that last. Click To Tweet