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Recipe for stress…

There’s a quick way to add more stress to any relationships, whether at home or work or with friends. Not that you’d want to do “this”  deliberately, but if you don’t realize you are doing “this” then how can you change your pattern of behavior?

What is it? … Simply “assume” you know what someone else means. And then watch what happens. There will be misunderstandings and accusations and more replays of what just happened than in the NBA finals.

This tool for disaster is used by everyone, at least some of the time (there are people who use it constantly but they have other actions going on as well) but you can learn to minimize its damage and thus reduce your stress and the stress level around you.

So how do you get around it, if it’s that common?

Being aware is the first step. It might help to remember the little saying that when you assume, you make an “ass” of “u” and “me” (thus spelling the word “assume”).

Catch yourself when you start to assume you know what the other person is thinking or what they mean by that comment. It’s a trap that sends both people off on separate paths, each thinking they have a clear idea of what was discussed. Bzzzzt! Wrong.  You didn’t really hear each other, because instead of clarifying the muddle parts, you filled in the blanks in your own minds.

So the quick cure is, thus, to open your mouth and ASK.  This can be particularly difficult for the people-pleaser partner in a stressed relationship because you risk being barked at or worse. But learn how to speak up and say “Just to be sure we’re on the same page…” and then put in what you think they said. Believe me, they’ll correct you in a hurry if you’re wrong. But once you get in the habit of doing this, you’ll notice that you feel more of a participant in the conversation instead of just someone taking orders. No need to apologize or fall all over yourself with an explanation why you are asking. Keep it short and simple, but learn to speak up. And before you walk away or end the discussion, make sure you are clear on what you will do next, or that you’ve confirmed the plans you were trying to make. Don’t leave a lot of unanswered questions, or you’ll end up “assuming”… and stress is sure to follow the mistakes that come with guesswork.

your happiness guru,

Evelyn

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