What do you think?
As we continue to navigate the lockdown period, relationships between spouses, parents and children, housemates, friends and anyone living together will be severely tested.
I want to point out one thing that could potentially be a problem in these relationships. Simply put, it is uncontrolled opinions.
Most human beings are decent and will not just come up to you and tell you what they think. Where the problem arises is in our going out there to seek opinions.
When you ask someone, “what do you think?” there are a few things to note:
1. You may have spent considerable time thinking about something and forming your own opinion and are convinced you are right.
2. You go to the other party to ask what they think to validate your opinion and you are not open to hearing anything that is not your opinion.
3. You have given the other party a few minutes to think about what you have spent hours maybe even days processing, thus putting them at a disadvantage.
4. When they give you their opinion and it is not what you want to hear, it creates tension and even resentment towards them, they will also feel resentful towards you for not hearing them out.
5. This leads to strained relationships.
Before you ask anyone close to you what do you think, please do the following:
1. Be sure that you really want to have another opinion, and be prepared to hear something contrary to what you think.
2. It might be better to explain your thought process and how you arrived at your opinion before you ask for theirs.
3. Give them some time to process also and don’t jump down their throat for an answer.
4. If you are just wanting to run your opinion by them as you process and think out loud, then don’t ask what they think, but rather ask them to be a sounding board, and thank them for listening when you are done.
As the saying goes, if you don’t want trouble, then let the sleeping dogs lie.
If you don’t want to create unnecessary tension in your season of lockdown, use the question ‘what do you think?” more wisely.