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Monday, November 4, 2019

in that millisecond

One of my girlfriends is head over heels for a new guy. This weekend she called me and said "When I asked him if he loved me, he paused for a moment before he answered. He does love me, right?"

Two things. If you have to ask, then the answer is probably no. If you don't feel it in your heart, then sorry, it isn't there.  I thought of all of those times when someone paused for that millisecond when asking an important question of a boss, a partner, a child, a friend, a parent. I realized that the answer isn't what they said. The answer was in that fleeting hesitation.

I hate that feeling. You ask your partner, "Do you want to come with me?" Pause. "Yeah, OK," they respond. No, the answer is no, he doesn't want to go with you but in that moment he did the cost benefit analysis of going versus not going and he decided that if he went he wouldn't get pulled into an argument of why you don't do things together anymore. After pouring yourself into a project you present it to your manager and you ask "What do you think?" Pause. "Yeah, yeah. It's good," she says. No, there's a problem but she had to go to another meeting or she didn't want to get into it because you don't handle criticism well.

The thing is, trust your heart, your instincts. You can accept what someone says, keeping things surface level OK or you can ask "Did you want to stay home instead? Are you sick of going out?" or "Do you have some feedback on how we should revise the document?"

To have a real relationship, a partnership whether it's at work or with your family or friends, if your heart is unsettled with an answer, follow it up with a question. Be prepared to not like the answer. Maybe it's too early to know he loves you but wouldn't you rather know he feels like it's too early in the relationship to say it rather than think "Wow. He doesn't love me at all, does he?" It's never good to obsess over what someone else might be thinking. If your heart isn't settled, you can't be happy. Having answers helps you take charge of your life. Follow your instincts. Ask the questions. Without hesitation.

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