It’s absolutely awful when you think you’ve fallen out with someone isn’t it? Or we think that we’ve upset them in some way. Especially when you’re not entirely sure what you have done!
So for example, a friend doesn’t phone you when we are expecting them to, a partner seems quiet, someone seemingly ignores you, a client doesn’t get back to you, a colleague looks funny at you, a customer sends you a curt email or cancels an appointment…..
The list is endless and we are left trying to work out whether we’ve done something wrong, upset someone, said the wrong things or not done something! What does their behaviour mean?
It would be so much better if it was obvious to us what the other person is thinking, but so often it’s what is unsaid that we are left interpreting, either the silence, or a look, maybe just a feeling that we get that leaves us thinking ‘I know I’ve done something wrong or I’ve upset them in someway’. We’re then often left having to be careful what we say around them, watching how we behave to prevent making it worse or maybe we just don’t know what to do – it’s like walking on eggshells.!
How would it be if we simply didn’t try to work it all out? How would it be if we didn’t allow our minds to go racing off trying to work out whether we’ve upset them, why we’ve upset them or what we have to do about it? What would happen then?
Let’s look at it the other way, how often have you tried to interpret it and got it wrong? Been told that it wasn’t like that at all? That they weren’t upset all along?
Or how often have you thought this means they don’t like me, someone’s said something to them, I’ve done something wrong – or however you’ve interpreted it… and then avoided them?
Even worse – you’ve avoided them and then the other person has interpreted that in a similar way to you and then avoided you and you’ve thought ‘see I knew it!’ ‘I knew I’d upset them!’ And you ignore them even more which then they respond to by ignoring you more and so it goes on and on and before you know it neither of you are speaking, avoiding each other and neither of you know why!!!
And all because you’ve tried to work out what the other person was thinking or feeling, attached a meaning to somebody’s actions or inaction! You’ve filled in the gaps and given it a meaning that you have no idea whether it is true or not but based on that meaning you’ve changed your behaviour and the choices you make!
So the next time someone doesn’t behave in the way you expect and you find yourself worrying about what that means, remind yourself that it means nothing until they tell you it does. Anything else you’re just making up!
This way nothing changes in the relationship, everything stays the same, and more importantly you don’t have to walk on eggshells!
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