When there is lack of communication between you and someone else what do you assume? If your boss, spouse or friend doesn’t give you information at the time you would have liked it, what do you assume?
Do you assume the person does not care about you, doesn’t trust you with the information, didn’t think about you, or do you assume that she desired to tell you but something either hindered her or distracted her from giving it to you when you would have liked it?
When someone tells you he will be at your house at a certain time, but is there 30 minutes late do you assume he doesn’t care about your time, he is selfish, he put something else in front of you, or do you assume that something unavoidable must have come up and he did his very best to be there as soon as possible?
There is so much hurt, judgment and offense you could save yourself and your relationships if you assume the best with people. Is it naive to assume the best in your relationships? Possibly. But, at the same time it is often more rash and destructive to assume the worse.
Have you ever assumed something negavtive about someone’s actions or motives? What often happens when this occurs? Your blood begins to boil. Bitterness starts digging it’s roots in your heart. Frustration springs up. Hurt cripples you. Anger overtakes you. Judgement takes its seat in your emotional court room. And, an emotional gap quickly puts itself between you and the person you are assuming things about.
However, if you were to assume the best two major things happen. The first, you begin to empathize with the person you are assuming things about. You start asking questions like: What happened? Is he okay? What can I do to help her feel safe to come to me? You move your heart to a place that gives the person the benefit of the doubt and you remain on his or her side.
Second, you start thinking through any possible things you could do to close the communication gap in a loving, respectful, and healthy way. You begin thinking through possible outside factors contributing to the situtation, things you have done, or things he may have experienced that may be perpetuating the communication barrier.
By doing so, you are setting yourself up to be able to confront the lack of communication not in bitterness, but with understanding. You confront it not with anger or hurt, but with the heart of a learner. The person feels like you are on her team when you approach her, not someone who is trying to jam her for his flaws.
When you do this, you are paving the way for a clear, respectful, and much needed conversation. Your heart is prepared, you go in with a team mentality, and now the door is open for better communication.
Refuse to negatively assume, it is to your benefit and the benefit of the person about whom you are assuming.