Chapter 8: Feeling considered
Feeling considered is knowing that someone has thought of you and respected your wishes when making their own plans. When we consider someone else, we take into account how they feel, what they are thinking, and what they may need before we go ahead with our plans. It’s different from asking permission. Asking permission is seeking approval, but consideration extends an invitation to your partner to be a part of what you’re doing, even in a small way. It is often as simple as rephrasing “I am going to do this” to “I would like to do this” or “Would you mind if I did this?”
Kyeli’s Story: The Road Trip
Pace and I were going on a road trip. As we headed to the car, she said, “I’m going to read my book on the drive.” I was instantly annoyed; would I be able to listen to music without bothering her? Conversation would be out, too. My entire trip had now become a little less pleasant and my mood had dipped. It took me a while to get my thoughts and feelings sorted out, so she did indeed read her book while I was processing. After I was in a better place, I asked if we could talk. She agreed, so I told her how I felt: when she stated she was going to read, I felt unconsidered. I felt like she didn’t take my needs or wants into account; she decided what she wanted to do and stated she was going to do it.
In talking about my feelings, I wound up pushing one of her buttons. She felt like I was saying she had to ask permission to read. That wasn’t my intent at all! I needed consideration, not to be asked for permission. I told her, if she said, “Do you mind if I read during the drive?” or even “I’d like to read on the drive,” I would have felt like she was giving me total consideration. She would have been checking with me to see if I had any reasons for her not doing so. The likelihood would be that she’d still get what she wanted and I would be happy because I was considered. It’s not that I didn’t want her to read; I wanted to know that she was thinking of me when she made plans. She understood and agreed to be more considerate in the future.
If you don’t consider your partner, they may feel hurt like Kyeli did. If you do consider your partner, chances are it will be a win/win situation. Your partner will have no objection, will feel cared for, and you will still get what you want. If your partner does have an objection, that’s an opportunity for communication and you can work things out with no hurt feelings.
Rebeka’s Example: Music vs. Video
Rebeka and her partner Tammi both work from home, so the time they’re online often overlaps. They work on separate computers in the same room during the day. Rebeka usually checks with Tammi before playing music, to be sure it won’t bother her.
One day, Rebeka had her music playing and Tammi started watching a video. Rebeka found this loud and disruptive. She said sarcastically, “Well, I guess I’ll just turn my music off, then.” Catching her own passive-aggressive behavior, she waited until Tammi’s video ended and asked if they could talk it out. “Sure,” said Tammi.
Rebeka asked Tammi, “In the future could you please ask before watching a video with sound when I’m playing music? Two sounds happening at once is distracting for me.”
Tammi replied, “Sure, I’m fine with asking you first, as long as sometimes you’re willing to turn off your music instead, or put on headphones if there’s a video I want to watch.”
Rebeka agreed. They both felt happy and considered, and they were able to work together with less stress in the future.
Feeling considered is important. We all want to feel like our loved ones are thinking of us. When they make their own plans without considering us first, we can feel ignored, slighted, or devalued, which leads to hurt feelings. Usually our loved ones aren’t actually ignoring or devaluing us, but feeling that way is never pleasant. It’s delightful that this problem can easily be sidestepped by considering our partners and rephrasing our words to better reflect our intentions!