Certain personality types are more likely to find this one difficult, specifically if you’re the kind that wants to please people and make sure everyone is OK. If you’re high on empathy, feeling what another person might be feeling is important to you, and you may sometimes have a tendency to project feelings that aren’t there.
Unfortunately, it’s never completely possible to understand what someone might be thinking, especially when you consider how different most people are from you. We’ve all done this – upset or annoyed someone without really understanding why. Some people take this really hard and put themselves under too much pressure to get it right. But you are not a mind reader – you can’t know what that person was feeling, and some disagreement is inevitable in life anyway. Your goal in life can’t be to never put anyone out. It’s OK, this is one of my big ones too. But it doesn’t work.
There will always be the time that you ask someone how their girlfriend is and they say she’s not their girlfriend any more. They will be upset. And you didn’t know. Don’t beat yourself up about these times. You can’t get everything right, and that’s OK. Even if they take the whole thing really badly, sometimes there is nothing you could have done better.
Mistakes are normal. Not knowing things is normal. Don’t make life harder for yourself by setting your expectations of yourself way too high. And while you’re at it – remember other people aren’t mind readers either. So give them a break when you want to get upset at something they said. How are they supposed to know? My wife always laughs at me when I’m driving and I want to pull in to the lane next to me but the other person isn’t letting me. Because I haven’t told them. Now, generally, I use my signals, because I don’t own a BMW. But people on the motorway now use signals to mean ‘I’m coming out NOW’. So I wait until I have a chance to get out. But that means nobody knows I want to move over!
Don’t be too hard on yourself when you make a decision that turns out wrong based on information you just didn’t have. You just can’t know everything.