Why I Stopped Assuming My Friends Intentions
I’m a naturally imaginative person and I’m a natural storyteller. I love the feeling of capturing a room full of people’s attention when I’m talking and my husband (who often lives the story I’m telling with me) will tell you that everytime I tell a story it gets more elaborate and detailed, and more creative.
But you don't have to be a storyteller to make up stories throughout your day, actually all of us do this, maybe more than we even realize.
Brene Brown talks a lot about the stories we make up. There’s actually a whole chemical process in our brains that wants a conclusion. (So I guess the instinct to binge watch that new show you're watching on Netflix is natural...)
If we can’t find one out a conclusion for real, we make it up. Often, I do this quickly and naturally throughout my day.
Recently, I reached out to a friend and asked a favor. She quickly rejected me and I was so hurt. My brain was spinning with that story in my mind, trying to figure out what the conclusion was.
Since I didn’t know it, I made it up. She didn’t like me, didn’t want to be my friend, and actually we would probably never speak again. I got creative with the story in my head, letting it spin into self-doubt and questioning whether I was worth being friends with.
This isn’t the first time I’ve done this. Have you ever found yourself assuming a story in your head, but then when you’re confronted with what actually happened you realize how far off you were?
Well, that’s exactly what happened to me.
Later, the friend came back and explained what was going on in her life at the time and why her response seemed harsh and rude. There was actually a really logical reason behind it, and plot twist, it had nothing to do with me.
I’m grateful she came back around to tell me what she had been thinking, because if she hadn’t I had already decided the worst and most horrible situation was the reality in my mind, and I was planning on sticking with that story and letting it affect our friendship moving forward.
I realized I spend more time making up stories in my mind sometimes, than I do actually asking questions.
When I was hurt by that friend, I could have easily mentioned it and asked her what was going on. She would have filled in the blanks for me and given me a story that was much better than my fabricated one.
I make up a lot of stories in my relationships, and I’m sure you can probably think of a time when you’ve done this too.
When we choose to make up a story in our minds, we miss out on an opportunity to deepen a relationship by digging into what might be a little uncomfortable at first, but can really pay off in the long run.
Our made up stories in our minds aren’t usually right, and often, we might tend to assume the worst of people in our lives.
Instead of assuming what someone else is thinking, feeling, or doing, we can just ask them.
Maybe the truth will still be an ugly one, but I’d rather walk into a conversation that gives me the opportunity to forgive and grow than take actions in my relationships based on assumptions.
I wanted to have godly friendships, and that meant I had to stop assuming my friends intentions.
It meant I had to start asking the questions, and instead of assuming the answers, actually listening to them.
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