We all do it. There is a good chance we have sabotaged something we loved by filling in the blanks.
I’ll explain. My girlfriend isn’t answering her phone when I call but she answered when Matt called!
We have two of the three needed pieces of information necessary to draw a conclusion.
1. Not answering when I call.
2. Is answering when Matt calls.
3. Why? (This is the piece we don’t have.)
However, we feel it’s necessary to draw a conclusion without having this one piece of critical data. We have two out of three so we fill in third with our opinion—which usually comes from our own insecurities.
This is when we start filling in the blanks.
She isn’t answering because she is avoiding me.
She isn’t answering because she is hiding something from me.
She isn’t answering because Matt makes her happier.
She isn’t answering because she is bored with me.
We don’t have to make a decision.
We can simply wait until the third piece of information is available.
Instead of waiting we make the mistake of filling in the blanks, drawing a conclusion and believing it to be true. We either hold it in, without giving the other person a chance to explain or we project our pain on them unfairly—lashing out, anger or punishment—and later having to apologize.
When in reality my girlfriend’s phone never rang when I called but did when Matt called.
Most of the time it isn’t simple situations like the one listed above, it’s less black and white.
He is acting distant lately, he isn’t texting me as much as he usually does.
He hasn’t complimented me all week.
He is spending more time with his friends than usual.
He hasn’t initiated sex with me since last week.
We don’t know the whys for any of those, but when we start filling in the blanks, we start thinking the worst and then our behavior changes—which creates more blanks to be filled in by the other person.
It’s easy to see the potential damage this can cause.
I am amazed at how much blank filling in I do without realizing it.
You probably do it too.
Before you draw a conclusion make sure you aren’t filling in the blanks and I assure you your relationships will instantly see results.
Author: Luke Parrish
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: courtesy of the author