Big Life Lesson #1

An outside observer can tell you what's going on outside your body, but if you want to know what's going on inside, you have to ask.


And it's true the other way too. You can't expect your friend to know how you feel unless you tell them. So many misunderstandings happen when people think they can read other people's feelings from the outside, and when people expect others to anticipate their needs and wants.


I'm sure it must seem like common sense, but it's amazing how many relationships are damaged by not accepting this limit -- people can't read minds.


These expectations probably come from infancy and parenting, when a baby has limited ability to inform the parent what its needs are and the parent has to be good at guessing. But a baby's needs are simple. Feed me, hold me, change my diaper. Adults are (we hope!) more complicated than that.

  • Dave Winer 9y

    Rex, I'm not entirely sure you wouldn't have done exactly what I did. I'll have to tell you the rest of the story someday.
  • Sean Patrick Coon 9y

    so you used the booger to build the humor of the evening... while out in public??? and this was a friend? ugh.
  • Dave Winer 9y

    spcoon, in a friendly way. ugh.
  • Dave Winer 9y

    Is this ugh thing a way people in your next of the woods greet each other. Sort of like ciao? I like it. ugh.
  • Dave Winer 9y

  • Dave Winer 9y

    Yeah it works. ugh.
  • Seth Dillingham 9y

    When a person writes as much as you do, Dave, people automatically start to think they know what's going on inside you. It "feels" like you're expressing it, so they don't have to ask.
  • Dave Winer 9y

    Yeah it doesn't actually work that way, I guess that's the point, eh? ;->
  • Susan Kitchens 9y

    Dave.... Last night I was re-reading some old writing along a similar vein... about that which is experienced inside and how it is or isn't apparent on the outside. Thanks (in part) to your post, I went and posted it on my site.
  • Sooz 9y

    Now that's something you don't see often: actual handwriting! Everyone should draw up a diagram of their choice and post it. Another way to see a bit more of someone's personality. I think so anyway!
  • Corey 9y

  • Frank Paynter 9y

    RIP Stew Albert


    Your inside is out when your outside is in
    Your outside is in when your inside is out
    So come on, come on

    Come on is such a joy
    Come on is such a joy
    Come on is make it easy
    Come on is make it easy
    Make it easy, take it easy
    Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey,

    Come on, come on, come on, come on...
    -- T. Beatles
  • Jay Cross 9y

    Dave, good thought but you need to take it further. People can't tell you what's going on inside their heads. In shorthand (and I'll be glad to provide a more erudite explantion if you're interested), we all bullshit ourselves. Asking what's going on inside is good -- but it cannot be taken at face value.

  • Dave Winer 9y

    Jay, yes, of course. That's life-lesson number 237.
  • Howard Greenstein 9y

    To extend Jay's thought - Coaching works well because it helps you figure out what is going on inside your own thoughts - reduces your own B.S. to you.
    And, Dave, if you ever see a booger on my nose, please tell me. At least before I leave and see someone else.
  • John McDonald 9y

  • Dave Winer 9y

    I've gotten a bunch of whiny email about the booger. Here's a new piece of data. It was a woman. Does that change things?

    If she were my best friend I might tell her. The way I see it is a woman would be horrified to know that she had a booger hanging off her her nose and it was visible to me. The fact that I helped her would be secondary, imho.

    Now a guy would really appreciate the advice, I totally get that (I'm a guy after all). But all of the commenters so far have been men. I haven't heard a woman say yet that I did wrong.

    Also I should say this is not one of my closest friends. I trust her and I think she trusts me, but I can't say I know for sure how she feels about her appearance and grooming.
  • Sean Patrick Coon 9y

    different strokes for different folks. i probably would've gestured that there was something on her nose, playfully commented and moved the conversation elsewhere where she felt comfortable, but hey, that's me.

    so about that opml validator... ;-)
  • Ctd 2005 9y

    C'mon Dave the booger was garnish for the dessert that was yet to arrive.
    I would 'a said; "'Got a pocket mirror? You might want to use it."( gestureing toward the "hanger" & yeah guys do not often carry those pocket mirrors unless a good scout. )

    The diagram; Many times even Even if we ask we often do not get the "straight dope"
    on what's going on on the inner workings of a friend/associate. It can be a wonderful connection moment. Then again asking may reveal what you do not want to hear (or would rather not know).
    So often we are left with "where someone was@ that last interaction" which gives us that "Expected image" of where we think someone is currently, so often we are dead wrong ( Isn't this how wars are started?). Like our perception has manytimes little to do with another's truth.
  • J. Leslie Booth 9y

    This is the basis for why it takes a long time to build a quality relationship and only seconds to destroy one.

    We don't get the 'real scoop' first time around on anyone or anything. It takes multiple approaches and attempts. It takes work. And frankly, most people aren't interested in the investment.

    Too bad.

    Much misunderstanding, hurt, pain and suffering could be avoided if only a small amount of 'time investment' were given to getting to know another person - BEFORE - voicing publicly an opinion or position that either directly or indirectly affects that person.

    Snap-shots only reveal the subject in a specific given moment of time. Nothing of history, past or future, is relevant or revealed. Thus, snap-shots of people are dangerous for all parties concerned. Like that old addage about 'judging a book by its cover'.

    Another old addage comes to mind as a solution for this errant behavior, "Treat others as you, yourself, would want to be treated."

    On that Dave, I would tell you and anyone else they had a bugger hanging from their nose. But, I make no judgement on your choice; I wasn't there and don't know the history: even with your further explanation. I tell you what I would do .. not how you should do.

    Yes, and what about the mind-of-its-own Mac reboot phenom .. ": )))
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