Credit: Creative Commons, Mollybob
In recent weeks, I’ve noticed an unpleasant little habit we girls (& guys!) sometimes have. I call it “Filling in the Blanks” for other people, and it looks something like this:
Instead of communicating with our friends & family, spouse, coworkers or whomever, we make assumptions about their thoughts & feelings, their needs, even whether they like us or not! We can jump to pretty serious conclusions about people without them ever opening their mouths.
As you can imagine, this causes relational trouble. Why? Because it replaces conversation with speculation. None of us intend to do this, of course, but it sneaks up on us so subtly that we don’t always realize we’re doing it! Considering its potential to damage friendships & marriages that take years to build, we need to kick this habit for good.
The happiest people I know – & those with the strongest relationships – don’t make a habit of “filling in the blanks” for people. Instead, they have conversations, ask questions, & confront issues if there’s a need for it. The only time they jump to conclusions is when they assume the best of others (and they tend to receive it!).
“Filling in the blanks” for people is shaky ground because it bases our relationship on assumption & (dare I say?) a bit of judgment-passing. This cheats us & the people around us of truly connecting & understanding each other.
Instead of human interaction, this type of exchange is mostly in our heads. That doesn’t even SOUND healthy, does it?
Yet too many relationships are damaged by someone filling in another’s blanks, mine included. So why do we do it?