A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the stories you tell yourself as excuses for not accomplishing goals.
There's a similar phenomenon when it comes to relationships; you make up stories about how someone feels about you. Either because you want to avoid confrontation, or because you've assumed what the truth is before you actually know it, and you don't want to be wrong.
Here's an example.
A little while ago, a young guy I know told me he was very nervous because his boss hadn't spoken to him very much recently, and then canceled an upcoming employee review. He thought his boss was trying to ignore him, because he was about to let him go.
I am close with the boss in question, so I called him myself.
“Is something wrong?" I asked. "I don’t want to get in the middle of it, but I know he loves working there..."
"Not at all!" he said. "I’ve been caught up with All-Star Game, and a bunch of other stuff is going on. But I love that guy!”
“He thought you canceled a meeting with him because you didn’t like him.”
"No, that wasn't it. Had nothing to do with him."
Sure enough, a week later, the young guy called me and told me the boss had reached out to him about his concern, and told him everything was fine.
In the space between his boss canceling that meeting, and his boss's reassurance, who knows what stories this guy was telling himself. I'm sure they were quite "creative."
When you get caught up in this storytelling, you let relationships deteriorate when they don't have to!
Not just people at work. Girlfriends, boyfriends. Family members. Whoever.
So think about a relationship that is tense for you right now.
Then consider going up to that person and simply asking:
"Are we okay?"
Because if you don't, and you tell yourself some story, you may well be creating a work of fiction.