Mind Reading

I am not a mind reader.  This seems to surprise some people.  These folks seem to expect me to know the thoughts that have been running around inside their precious heads.  I hate to disappoint them, but I often don’t.  Here’s an example from last week.

“You remember what our other house looked like, don’t you?” a friend asked.

“No,” I replied, “I was never at your other house.”

“Oh yeah, that’s right.  You never came over,” my friend responded.

“Um, I guess I didn’t know that you wanted me to,” I kind of mumbled.

“Or course I wanted you to!  We would have loved to have you!” my friend chided.

Here’s another example:

“We don’t have room for a garden, but it sure would have been nice to have enough tomatoes to can some sauce or make some salsa,” a friend remarked.

I replied, “We almost always have extras, and we are more than happy to share.”

“I was hoping you had some last year that we could use, but I never heard from you about it,” my friend seemingly scolded.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know that you wanted tomatoes,” I apologized.

“I figured you knew me well enough to know that we wanted some,” she said.

Obviously, I didn’t know her as well as she would like.  I am not a mind reader.

To be fair, I have been accused of expecting my husband to read my mind.  I remember him looking at me after we had been married for a number of years and kind of bewilderingly asking, “Honey, how in the world am I supposed to know what you want?”

I basically told him that I thought he should know my thoughts so intimately at this point in our relationship that he can practically hear my thoughts before I speak them.

He looked at my like I was a somewhat lovable alien, and said with all the sincerity he could muster, “I love you, but I can’t read your mind.  And I don’t really want to try.  Just tell me what you want and I’ll do it.”

I want to point out here that my husband is a very good man–the most patient man in the world that has had to endure a great many inconveniences with me for his wife (…like the time I scraped our new-to-us van down the concrete yellow bank drive-up pole the first time I drove it…or the time I ran the car into the garage door…or the time I held our tax refund check hostage to make a point…or the time I got the truck stuck in the mud after he told me to not drive it where it was muddy…).  Sometimes, people feel sorry for him because of the marital cross he chose to bear.  In case you’re starting to feel that for him, I think you should know that I have often reminded my husband of the last sentence of the above quote, and it doesn’t always work.  He is not uber-committed to doing whatever I want him to do.  I just wanted to make sure you, the reader, knows that.

Anyway, when Dave told me that he didn’t really want to try to read my mind, that kind of struck a chord with me.  The more I thought about it, the more sense it made.  It is exhausting to try to read someone else’s mind.  It is frustrating to be the primary communicator in a relationship–to be the one who is trying to guess what the other person is feeling, thinking, needing.  It really isn’t fair.  I realized that I was pretty much setting Dave up to fail in this situation, because there is no way on God’s green earth that he could possibly realize the beautiful chaos that is my mind.  And, to be honest, it’s probably better that way.

So, I encourage those of you who know me with this advice:  Just tell me what you want.  I might do it.


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