Long before Whitney Houston ever sang the words, “How will I know?” in the 80s, women have been looking for clues and signs that others really do know and value them. And the most popular sign that we are loved and valued by others: “just knowing” (aka mind reading)!
As women, we are naturals at connecting with and learning about others. We pick up on the details quickly, and remember someone’s favorite candy, movie, or color when we buy gifts for them- without being prompted. So it’s natural for us to hope that the favor will be returned to us.
But when they don’t remember those small details at those special times…OUCH! It can be taken as a sign that others don’t value their relationship with us, particularly male significant others. This doubt is the onset of a stressful situation to your relationship, as we turn details over and over in our mind, fret, and even argue.
Signs You May Expect Others to Mind Read
You may expect others to mind read if you’re guilty of saying:
- “I shouldn’t have to tell you- you should just KNOW!”
- “If you really cared about me, you’d REMEMBER!”
- “I’ve danced all around what I wanted.”
- “Why didn’t you notice when I _______?”
- “You don’t remember when I dropped that hint?”
- “I kept mentioning what they had done to their house!”
- “I’ve always talked about wanting to do that.”
- “I thought you were going to _________.”
If you’ve had one of these thoughts, then you know what follows next.
Often, you feel hurt and annoyed, and begin to doubt just how much the other person cares about you. This can lead to an uncomfortable conversation with the person who failed to live up to your expectations. And after the conversation, guilt can settle in, where you wonder about everything all over again.
Mind reading is definitely a stressor in our relationships. But when others don’t pick up on our subtle clues or know what we want, it doesn’t mean they don’t care about us. It simply means they didn’t pick up on those hints. They could be experiencing a busy time of year at work, bogged down with college assignments, or simply so busy and stressed their good intentions went right out the window.
How to Prevent Mind Reading from Impacting Your Relationships
So how can you present mind reading impacting your relationships?
- Just come out and say it! Men, in particular, are just not programmed to pick up subtleties. No matter how much they love you, they need reminders- blunt reminders- to remember things.
- Make visual reminders. Signs, post-it notes, and memos left in open and obvious locations where they are sure to be noticed will help jog memories.
- Share with more than one person. Even those with the best of intentions to follow through can get side-tracked in today’s busy world. Having more than one person in the know increases the changes of it being remembered and acted upon.
- Discuss expectations and plans of action in advance. Don’t leave things to happenstance to occur. Make a plan.
- Prioritize what you really want or need. If you share a laundry list of wishes and expectations, others won’t know the most desired thing on that list. Eliminate things that are optional, and emphasize those that are essential.
And with all of those efforts, what if none nothing becomes of it? Even though you’re hurt, gently share your disappointment. You’ll be less likely to put the other person on the defensive and more likely for them to remember and do better the next time.
By doing this, you’ll be less likely to feel stressed and annoyed, along with less guilt later on. And that feeling is a true gift.