One of the things I’ve become really good at is not over thinking things when it comes to other people. I sometimes still fall into the trap but I’ve gotten really good at leaving a conversation once it’s done.
Here is what I do.
- Take everything at face value
I’ve decided that I’m an adult and that the people around me are also adults. So when they say something to me, I simply believe it. I trust that if there was a problem that they would behave like an adult and have a conversation with me about it.
- Accept what others say to you
In a similar vein to the above, accept what others ask of you. If someone asks for space, give it to them. If you offer something to someone and they say ”no” move on to something else. Treat others with the respect they deserve and allow them to make decisions for themselves. Again if they say no to something that you offer, trust that if they do want to take you up on it that they will ask.
- Assume the best
There are many instances where someone says something and it can be taken the right way or the wrong way. Most of the time how you feel about the person at that point in time will dictate how you take it. For example, I was once at a New Years Eve party sitting in a gazebo where there were gaps in the palings. The owners dog peed on the gazebo and naturally some of it got on one of the girls. I said to her “there’s no one better for him to do that to” because she was a vet nurse and volunteered at rescue shelters and loved all animals. She assumed I meant that she deserved it and that it was a negative. At the time she and I weren’t in a good place which is probably why she assumed I meant it as a negative. I don’t blame her for doing that but it taught me to just assume that generally people mean things in the best possible way. And to be honest, even if they don’t it doesn’t matter. If you choose to take it as a positive it means that exchange won’t consume your thoughts.
- Communicate effectively
Don’t beat around the bush. If you want to ask something ask it. It’s the best way to get your answer and that way you won’t have to think about what they meant when they said x and y. But it also helps to avoid misunderstandings. Last night I went to dinner with a friend and the restaurant we went to do take away pizzas. I sent my fiance a text asking if he wanted one. As I was out to dinner when he replied to my text I didn’t really read it and all I saw was if you can’t be bothered don’t worry about it. What he had actually written was if you can be bothered get some but if not don’t worry. If he had just said yes I would have gotten him some pizza and then we wouldn’t have spent 10 minutes when I got home arguing about who was right and who was wrong.
- Don’t dwell on things
If you’ve said something that may have caused someone you care about to feel hurt and they aren’t responding to you, accept it – you don’t get to decide what hurts someone else. Ensure you have genuinely apologised (none of this ”I’m sorry you feel that way” bullshit) but move on. Allow them the time and space they need to work through their feelings. Don’t sit around thinking about it for too long. Allow them to come to you when the time is right for them.
- Be honest yourself
It’s easier to not overthink things if you yourself are honest with those around you. It can also encourage others around you to communicate more honestly and openly with you.
It’s actually pretty easy once you get into this thought pattern of just assuming the best of each situation. I used to spend hours going over situations in my head, wondering what I said or did to cause (potential) offence to someone else. It was a ridiculous waste of time and wasn’t good for my mental health. These days I can say that more often than not, I say exactly what I want, depending on the other person I may have edit or censor myself but generally the meaning is clear. It saves misunderstandings, it saves time and it means that I can move on to other things without thinking back.