Many conflicts and disagreements result from people assuming they know what their partner is thinking. These assumptions can lead to a variety of feelings such as anger, hurt and disappointment. Many times, the person has misread what his partner’s thoughts truly are. Avoid miscommunications by talking openly and asking questions.
It is fairly common for people to guess what their partner’s body language means. However, guesses are often inaccurate. Picture a husband and wife talking about their day. She explains to him a situation where she went to talk to her boss about some difficulties she was experiencing and she states that her boss yelled at her. While she is telling her husband this story, he makes a facial gesture that she assumes is because he is disappointed in her actions. She thinks to herself, “he hates it when I speak up because he thinks I am rude.” She stops the story short and goes into a different room. In reality, he made the face because he was concerned that her boss yelled at her. He then assumes she left the room because she needed some quiet time after her bad day.
Here’s another example: A husband tells his wife excitedly that his boss talked to him about a potential new opportunity at work. As he is talking, his wife just sort of nods and smiles. He assumes she is not excited and he thinks, “she always worries I will work more hours. She doesn’t care about me being successful at my job.” In reality, she learned some sad news at her own job today about a co-worker’s child who has become very ill. She was distracted by this while he was talking and was trying to force herself to look somewhat happy for him. She didn’t want to tell him about the news she heard because he was so excited.
Attempts at mind reading cause misunderstandings in a variety of ways. Avoid assuming you know what your partner is thinking or feeling. Ask questions such as, “what do you think about that?” If he says he thinks it is a great idea but his body language says otherwise, point that out and ask more questions. Talking openly about feelings and communicating them helps couples to grow more connected emotionally.