The struggle with texts or emails is that we can’t read the nonverbal communication from the other person. While a message or email may appear to say one thing to you, the intention behind the words may be completely different.
“Let’s talk at 5.”
“I need to tell you something later.”
Whether you receive these messages in a work email or a text message from your friend, there is an obvious lack of clarity on the receiver’s behalf. “Let’s talk at 5” could mean anything from choosing a location for happy hour to getting fired from your job. Getting “I need to tell you something later” from your significant other could be a raise at work to an argument about how he/she needs to feel more appreciated in the relationship. If you are lucky you get the, “Nothing bad, don’t worry” added to the end.
As the receiver of a message with an ambiguous interpretation, your mind runs through a number of scenarios about what the other person may mean. You mentally prepare to both fight a war and celebrate a massive victory all because of a few words. Rather than throwing yourself through a roller coaster of emotions, assume the other person has the best intentions at heart.
In college and early in my career, I would think through every scenario about what a message could mean. I would question what the other person had to say while hardly ever guessing correctly. Instead of racking my brain for what I did wrong or what could be wrong, I found that assuming the best of the situation keeps me in a positive state of mind, more relaxed, and helps me focus on what is in front of me. On top of an improved mental state, most conversations are not about something bad anyway! We waste precious amounts of energy, focus, and time thinking about the worst possible scenario that never happens because of a simple misinterpretation of words.
When my boss messages or emails me to give him a call, I assume it is to talk about a project coming up that he needs help with. I don’t assume I’m getting yelled at for messing up on a deliverable. If a friend texts me and says he wants to talk, I assume it is just to catch up because we have not talked in a while.
You can only control how you react in a situation. The words sent to you or the choices made by another person do not have to affect your demeanor and attitude. If someone chooses to lie to you, that is something they have to live with. You can assume to best and save yourself countless hours of stress and worry.
I appreciate you.
New book coming soon!