I walked behind two people while walking through Hyde Park, and overheard part of their conversation.
‘Sometimes I give you book on how to live a good life and sometimes I give you books with good stories in them‘, the older man told his younger female walking companion, in an acccusatory tone.
I can spin a few different stories that might or might not have sparked that exchange. But the one that I believe is most likely, is that the women figured she knew what the man meant when he giving her a book/books over time. And perhaps she’s right. But still, how can she know? Unless she’s a mind reader, of course.
And it’s just as easy to imagine that when the woman asked the man how he picks the books he gives her, that he imagined that she was accusing him of trying to control her, or something like that. And perhaps he’s right. But still, how can he know what she thinks, what her intent was?
Isn’t it funny we have so much thinking about what other people intend? I know I let my imagination run wild now and again. And get upset, or happy, or sad, by what I believe might be what was intended. I have a few friends who have started to use clarifying questions to make sure they stop themselves from going down the rabbit hole of I know what you mean-thinking.
Because really, doesn’t it make more sense to ask and find out for sure? In a way, perhaps that’s what the lady given books tried to do. But perhaps she didn’t ask? Perhaps she accused instead? So the trick is – how to ask to avoid getting the annoyed retort the lady above received?
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