How often do we make assumptions about what others may be thinking or doing, then finding out later that the situation wasn’t what we thought it was, which can lead to unnecessary conflict & stress.
Here is a true story, told to me by a financial planner after one of my presentations a few years ago, about mistaken assumptions :- One of his clients, who was getting close to retirement, travelled a lot with his work and was really looking forward to spending a lot more time at home, gardening & getting involved in his local community & NOT travelling.
His wife, who had spent a lot of time at home, was so looking forward to going on o/s trips like their friends, when he retired. When they were both in his office one day to discuss financial matters, the husband mentioned he was looking forward to no more travel when he retired, which caused a heated argument to flare up between the couple. Each had assumed that the other person wanted the same thing they did, so had never really discussed it.
So how could this argument have been avoided? By simply having some good, clear communication & asking questions of each other, listening to each other about their thoughts about what to do in retirement.
The way to keep yourself from making assumptions & dealing with the conflict created by mistaken assumptions, is to ASK questions. If you don’t understand, ask, until you are clear about the matter, whatever it is.
A recent survey showed that 35% of couples divorce because of poor communication & 37% divorce because of financial issues. Imagine the ‘volcanic eruption’ that can take place when poor communication is about money issues!
Here is an exercise you can do with the other person in your life, to develop the habit of having clear communication & reducing the conflict that assumptions can create. In this time of ‘social distancing’ with the Corona V, it would be a good time to carry out the exercise detailed below.
Each person writes down how they want a particular situation to be, eg. what to do in retirement, how to spend Christmas, availability for minding grandchildren, whether to downsize or move to a new town, whether to buy a new caravan or not – the list is endless. When you have each completed your list, listen carefully to each other’s ‘wants’ and then ask questions to get clear on what is being said. Do you have a better understanding of the situation? Can you and the other person resolve any issues in a more peaceful way than the ‘volcanic eruption’ that the couple had in the FP’s office?
I’d be happy to get some feedback from you, when you try this approach.