Previously I have talked about how our assumption that what we said was understood in the way we meant it can lead to miscommunication.
I’ve also talked about how making the assumption that what the other person is going to say is not important enough for us to listen without distraction also leads to miscommunication.
Both a failure to verify the other person has accurately understood what we mean, and a failure to listen, cause misunderstandings in our conversations and ultimately work against our relationships. Our incorrect assumptions weaken our relationships instead of strengthen them because they hide the truth.
There is a third way we weaken our relationships instead of strengthening them and that is when we assume that our interpretation of what another person has said is correct and absolute.
We assume our initial interpretation must be correct, and we respond accordingly, when what we need to do is state to the other person the assumption that we have made and ask for verification or correction.
I heard you say these words… I take them to mean… Am I correct?
I’ve become engulfed in ugly and unproductive conversations when the other person makes assumptions about what I mean, and then takes umbrage over the misconstrued meaning. I’d be angry too if the situation were reversed. So would you.
When we set aside our assumptions and remain open to understanding what was really meant, we open the door to an honest conversation. The next step is to verify what we think we heard.
What about you? Do you find it easy to characterize another person’s words within your own framework of understanding and fail to check your assumptions before proceeding further?
Can you see how this can send you down a negative path that can injure the relationship?
Life Is Honest, Open and True: The next time you feel threatened by what another person has said, check your assumptions and verify there has not been a miscommunication. When you do that, you have a chance to prevent a problem within the relationship before it even has a chance to get started.