Lately I realised I have been testing one of my best friends.
When we were in touch she’d often tell me how she was, and all about her life, but not ask how mine was. Rather than just telling her what I’m up to, I waited for her to ask, and she didn’t, so I concluded she wasn’t that that interested anymore.
But just yesterday I decided to tell her honestly how I’ve been feeling. And guess what, it turns out, she reads every one of my Project Self posts, so she feels like she already knows what’s going on in my life. And she feels like my life looks so awesome that she doesn’t want to hassle me with her own problems.
So we’ve become a bit disconnected.
Having an honest conversation shifted everything for us both –
we were both making assumptions based on our mind’s interpretation of each other’s mind – NEVER a good idea! It was a lesson I’ve learnt over and over – don’t test people, just tell them what you want or need!
I used to be a master people tester.
If you were my friend, I’d test you and wait for you to fail. If you were my boyfriend, I’d test you and wait for you to fail. And when you inevitably failed one of my tests, I would nod my head knowingly. I always knew you’d let me down. I expected it.
My boyfriend – would he remember certain things I wanted him to remember? Would he hug me at the right time and not at the wrong time? Would my friends remember my birthday if I deleted it off Facebook? Would they ask the right questions to show they cared? If I did a favour for them would they reciprocate in the way I expected?
When the answer was no, it entitled me to get upset about it. Sometimes internally, sometimes outwardly.
I’d set all these expectations around me without voicing my wants, and then wait for the people in my life to jump over the invisible hurdles to get to me. And more often than not, they didn’t see the hurdles, so they tripped, and I got shitty about it.
Most of us do this with at least one person in our life, usually our significant other or parents.
There’s something we want them to do or say, but we don’t tell them, we just wait to see if they’ll do it. If they do, we set a new test. If they don’t, they get in trouble, or we confirm in our mind that we knew all along that they wouldn’t do X Y Z.
But we never told them what XYZ was.
We’re human beings, we’re not mind readers!
– they tend to be more matter of fact about things – if you want something, ask for it, otherwise, don’t expect them to guess! If you want a hug, ask for a hug. Don’t wait for a hug and then get upset when you don’t get one. Take what you want, ask for it, initiate it!
If you want someone to say something or ask something, make it easy for them. If you want to tell someone how you are, just tell them, don’t wait and watch whether they remember shut-up for long enough to ask.
Because no one likes tests. Especially not invisible tests. How can anyone know the answer if they don’t know there’s a question?
We’re all selfish, that’s how our minds work, we’re all up in our heads thinking about our own wants and needs, none of us spend a great deal of time analysing what anyone else wants or needs.
Are you picking up what I’m putting down?
Work out where in your life you test people.
A client of mine realised she was testing her family – waiting for them to ask the questions she’d waited years for them to ask. They never asked so she concluded they didn’t love her as much as her other siblings, without ever asking them why they never asked.
If people don’t ask you things, it’s often because they don’t think you like answering. Which is the case for my client.
When we test people, they fail, we get to be right, and we get to make them wrong, but neither of us get to be happy.
[bctt tweet=”Let’s stop setting out obstacle courses for the people in our lives.”]
Less testing, more up front honesty.