“There is value in stating the obvious. What is obvious to me is not obvious to others. What seems simple and clear to you is confusing to me.” Teresa Colón
We live in a world where everyone presumes to know about everything and everyone else. We think we know what the next person is thinking. And why not? We live our lives connected to social networks, email, TV and telephones. Viral videos circle the globe in the time it takes to boil an egg. We work and socialize with like minded people so we all think alike, right?
We just don’t see things from the same perspective. My past and my priorities cause me to focus on things that you don’t because of your perspective. What for me is ‘common sense’ might not be the same for you. While the article that caught my attention (link below) has its focus more on the business/work environment, it is also very true in any relationship. I can’t read your mind and you can’t read mine so please tell me what you are thinking. Not telling me will lead to errors in judgement, anger and resentments. You see the young woman, and I see the old lady.
Here in Costa Rica we have teeny ants that appear out of nowhere to feast on even a single crystal of sugar. Obviously you don’t leave the sugar out. But not everyone knows that. Guests in my home are blissfully unaware of the little critters. I try to make a point about this whenever I pull the sugar bowl from the fridge. My ‘obvious’ isn’t yours. If I don’t tell you, you’ll never know.
Ask couples living who’ve just starting living together about the importance of stating the obvious. Hanging the roll of toilet paper with the end over the top seems a no brainer, unless of course you have a cat. Do you take the garbage out the night before or early morning is a question of how adaptive the racoons and monkeys are in your neighbourhood. Leaving the keys in the deadbolt at night might just save a life in an earthquake. Don’t feed a dog chicken bones. I know these things, but you might not because your experience may be very different from mine.
State your expectations. Many a family trip has been ruined because what the parents want for their children is way different from what their children have in mind. An open discussion before leaving on the trip about the various details can resolve many issues before they even arise. There’s a whole generation between parents and children and that gap still exists between adult children and their parents. This makes a world of difference in perspective and values.
It just make things a whole lot easier if we stated what we think is the ‘obvious’ because: ‘it isn’t’. Human relations are hard enough without adding to the burden by leaving things unsaid, by making assumptions and by having expectations. As the saying goes, when you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME. Just say it.