I sent a text message to a friend and didn’t get a response. Was she mad at me? A week went by before I sent another, with the same result. Surely she had something against me. Did I do something wrong? Or did she just forget to respond?
Isn’t it funny how quickly we jump to conclusions?
I decided to give my friend the benefit of the doubt, realizing that I could have sent the text at a time when she was unable to respond. When she became available, maybe she had forgotten about it. So I sent yet a third text at a different time of day. And this one got a response. The first three words were, “Sorry, I forgot.”
It wasn’t that many years ago that I would have bought the “surely she’s mad at me” mentality and avoided that friend until she made a move to prove otherwise. A simple miscommunication or misunderstanding would have escalated into a gigantic relational issue in my mind, when in reality, there was no issue. It was merely bad timing.
Have you ever found yourself in that boat, letting your mind get the best of you? Like the song I learned as a child, “Be careful little eyes what you see … ears what you hear … tongue what you say … hands what you do … feet where you go,” we also need to be careful what we think, what we feed our brain. More often than not, our initial thought might be the worst.
We also need to give people the benefit of the doubt. Yes, you will encounter times when you reach out and don’t get a response because someone really is mad at you. It happens. But other times, all is well and someone is just busy. Maybe they had an emergency they had to deal with and didn’t have time to respond. Maybe they were driving and couldn’t text or call. Maybe they forgot their phone that day. The possibilities are endless.
So the next time you find yourself in a situation like that, how will you react? Will you immediately jump to the worst? Or will you think the best? It is what you make it.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"