The Mind Reading Game
For many people, dating and relationships are a practice in mind reading. When you start dating someone, isn't your mind often busy analyzing your date's every action: Does she like me? What does he mean by that? Will he call again? Did I say the right thing and will he take it wrong? Will she reject me or judge me?
In a long-term relationship, the tendency to mind read can become even worse. Will she nag me when I get home? Will he listen to what I have to say? What does he really feel? What does she want?
The funny thing is that most of us don't admit to believing in psychics and mind readers, and yet we try to practice mind reading in our relationships.
Mind reading seldom if ever works. It is simply not possible to accurately interpret another person's actions, thoughts, and feelings without input from them. This is true no matter how well we think we know a person. Mind reading damages relationships. How?
While you and/or your partner are busy trying to figure out each other, the real people with real needs get neglected. People don't communicate, don't ask what the other person wants, needs, means when they mind read. Assumptions are made and upon these false assumptions, actions and decisions are taken. Imagine the mess in your relationship, if you make key decisions, such as to stay or leave, or to relocate, move in together, have a child, etc., based on assumptions. People do this daily in their relationships.
Are you ready to stop trying to figure out the thoughts, feelings, and intentions of others and instead find out exactly what your partner thinks, feels, and intends?
Assume it's not personal
First, in mind reading, you would assume that another's actions are a direct reflection of what the person thinks and feels about you. The truth is that even when you are in a long-term relationship, only some of your partner's actions have to do with you. This is even more profoundly true in dating situations.
What the other person is doing or saying, or not doing or saying, has a lot to do with his or her life experience, way of being, and current circumstances.
In other words, it's safe to assume that a situation is not about you and is not intended to have an impact on you, unless your partner specifically tells you otherwise.
This way you can spare yourself hurt feelings and much wasted time wondering about and interpreting situations.
In mind reading, you would respond to another according to your interpretation of his or her actions. He or she would in turn respond to you according to his or her interpretation of your actions, and on, and on, and on.
Without mind reading and hence without interpretation, the logical step is to communicate. Ask questions. Share your feelings. Ask for what you want. Set boundaries. Expand your communication repertoire. As long as you are gentle and respectful, you can say almost anything to anyone without causing an adverse reaction.
Communicating with your partner may be difficult. Yet communication creates intimacy, which is why you want a relationship in the first place.
Once you stop playing the mind reading game, realize that what's going on with the other person is not personal, and start communicating, you'll notice a dramatic change in the quality of your relationship.
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