Posted on February 22, 2011. Filed under: Lifestyles, Psychology |

How often have you heard someone talking about how another person thinks? “She thinks that just because…” or “He thinks he’s…”, are common phrases in our communications. Generally these statements are assumptions, rather than facts.

Have you ever had someone say to you, “Well, you think that…” and the remainder of what they say is not how you think? If you have, you will recall how helpless you feel when someone assigns thoughts to you that are false. When we make these assumptions, we are robbing the individual of the right speak for him or herself. That is like backing someone into a corner, and they are likely to begin fighting their way out.

On the other hand, they may simply not bother communicating with you anymore, since you are doing the thinking for both parties. Telling someone what they think is a form of crazy making, and it will cause any relationship to deteriorate.

A healthier approach is to ask the person a question to check out your assumption. “Are you thinking that I should always be the one to get the groceries?” or “Is it your belief that a curfew is not important?” These kinds of questions invite a dialogue: a discussion which explores the issues and how each party feels about the issues. This leads to meaningful communication, which enhances and strengthens relationships.

Asking what a person thinks is a way of respecting that person and having healthy boundaries. Telling someone what they think is a violation of their boundaries; an invasion of their consciousness. If we do not have control over expression of our own thoughts, we are not free.

Next time you find yourself getting upset at how another thinks, stop, reflect, and then check it out. Ask your question, then really listen. Don’t argue, just listen. You will likely find you are not as far apart on the issue as you thought, and you will quickly see the benefits of this communication skill.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning Psychotherapist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books or cds, visit



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