Here’s a simple conversation between two people. It somehow reflects the everyday communication process.
- Have you got the documents from our accountant?
- No, I haven’t.
- But you promised you’ll get them.
- Well, I hoped you’ll get them because I didn’t have any free time.
- And why didn’t you say anything?
- I thought you’ll figure it out by yourself.
Have you ever been in a situation like this? A situation where the person you’re communicating with is assuming things instead of providing you with the information you need.
For many people out there, that’s communication. And their communication process is based more on hopes and thoughts than on actual communication.
How are others supposed to figure out what you think if you don’t express your thoughts? They’ll never know and you assuming they will know what you’re thinking will make you look dumb. You may not be dumb – you may simply have a bad day and you’re rushing the process of communication just because your mind is focused on something else.
But that’s not an excuse. And here’s why you should stop assuming things.
Two perspectives of the communication process. Which one is correct?
Here’s a hypothetical situation.
Let’s say I have to meet you at 18:00 at a networking event and spent two hours with you there. You need me there and you made it pretty clear.
After one hour, I tell you that I have to go because I have to meet some other friends. While you may think I’m a bad friend because I left earlier, others will think I’m a good friend because I made time for them.
Therefore, which of the two situations is correct?
None is correct. None is good or bad. That’s just how it is.
You should understand that life is made of choices and assuming that I made a good or a bad choice without knowing what happened, you’ll only lose.
You’ll lose relationships and people. You’ll lose the energy and the effort you invested in those relationships. And, more importantly, you’ll lose yourself. After all, you are the sum of your all relationships. If you have no relationship, you’ll end up being alone, you’ll find it hard to trust people (in general) and yourself.
And yes. Most of it starts with the simple assumption of things.
But it can be even worse.
How do you expect to discover people if you assume how people are?
While intuition is a great skill and you can use your intuition to predict something, don’t try to predict what type of pizza I like, please.
If you believe that I like pineapple pizza and you order one for me, you’ll be disappointed when you’ll find out I won’t eat it. And that’s the best-case scenario. Many times, people end up fighting because of such a dumb reason.
While this may be a not-so-good example, here’s what you should understand.
Understand that if you’re not willing to discover what other people like, you’ll most probably assume what they like. While that’s easy and comfortable, you’ll never learn anything about those around you.
Live your life based on speaking your mind, not hoping others will read your mind
Yes, being able to properly communicate is hard.
And I know it is hard because I see people lacking the communication skills they need to make themselves heard. I see people speaking too fast, too low, too little, too angry and they believe there’s nothing wrong with that.
But you should remember that the purpose of communication is to make sure the person you’re communicating with understands what you’re trying to communicate.
Therefore, instead of assuming, try to ask more questions. Instead of just throwing words out of your mouth, try to speak loud and clear, at a decent pace, so the listener can understand you.
Do this and you’ll see big improvements in your relationships.
With love and optimism,