Why not Ask?
~ Authenticity with Others~
This week we are talking about authenticity with others, and when I was thinking about building authentic friendships one of the first things that came to my mind was- assumptions.
To be honest, I think this is one of my biggest struggles with others. Whenever people assume things about me instead of asking questions about my life or what is going on within me, it really hurts.
There have been times when I really needed my friends to ask questions, and to care about what was going on with me and instead of asking me how I felt or what I thought, they just assumed all the answers- and they were wrong.
It was hurtful.
I want to be discovered- I want my friends to want to know more about me.
This is why I think it is really important that in our relationships we stop assuming.
We need to stop assuming the answers and the information.
We need to inquire about our friends, and we need to learn to ask questions. It shows you care.
As I am learning and practicing the art of Coaching I have come to understand the importance of questions.
One thing that was repeatedly told to us by our instructors is that we are the expert of ourselves- you are the expert of yourself.
Nobody knows you better than yourself- so why do we assume we are the experts of our friends and loved ones?
Why not let them share themselves with you and with what they are thinking?
Why not let them surprise you with new information?
Learning to ask questions about others instead of assuming helps you to be more mindful rather than simply reacting. Marilee Adams in her book, Change your Questions, Change your Life, tells us that asking questions open our minds, our eyes and our hearts. With questions, we learn, connect and create. When we shift our reactions from opinions/assumptions to curiosity it leads the way to collaboration, exploration and discovery of your friends and loved ones.
Another reason assumptions do not sit well with me is because when we assume things about our friends I personally feel it is lazy.
We are being lazy friends.
We are not trying to get to know them or discover them, and when we assume the answers it is hurtful.
It is like saying we do not care enough about you to know your thoughts.
When we assume we are basing our knowledge on our own opinions instead of the information given to us by the one person who is the expert of themselves.
Consider this, what if you were having a terrible day and instead of your friend asking questions about your side of the story, or being allowed to have the space for awareness and share your experience, they just talked over you with their own opinions and assumptions?
How would that experience be for you?
Learning to ask questions to your friends about their lives can really shift the atmosphere and mood of your relationship.
My challenge for you next week: when you are in a conversation with a friend instead of making assumptions or saying what you think they want to hear, why not ask them a question? Probe a little deeper- let them explain what is going on for them.
Here is a helpful list from Marliee's book of some questions to think through when you are heading into assumptions with your loved ones that will help shift your mindset from assumptions to curiosity:
- What do I want?
- What assumptions am I making?
- What am I responsible for?
- How else can I think about this?
- What is the other person thinking, feeling and wanting?
- What am I missing or avoiding?
- What could I learn from: this person or situation, this mistake or failure?
- What questions should I be asking my friends?