I was assuming the person I talked to wanted a certain thing. It was business related, and I thought from the conversation that we might be a poor fit to work together, but I wasn’t fully understanding what he wanted.
Initially I tried to say “I can refer to someone that does X, but I do not and here is why.”
But through the continued conversation I started asking more questions. As I hear others say, I started to ‘test my assumptions.’
He opened up about why he was reacting the way he was – he was trying to protect himself from an expensive experience with an attorney from which he had nothing to show for it. The attorney charged for his time (a lot of money) without explaining what he was doing.
It’s a good reminder to ask questions. I don’t always know how to figure out what someone else is thinking or why, but with time I am learning. I am glad this individual was not immediately turned away, and instead was patient with me, and ultimately put a bit more trust in me to open up so that we could be on the same page.
As we enter difficult situations when we think the person we are talking through is saying X, or thinks Y, how can we ask and test those assumptions? What might we learn about the other person when we let them open up? We might just be happier ourselves and make others happier too.