Learn how to read the instrument panel in a relationship in this relationship advice video series.
Host: Do you know how to read the instrument panel? Gloria MacDonald: We all have people that we feel like we know really well. It might be a girlfriend or a sibling or maybe your partner. I have a girlfriend for example who I can always tell when she is going to go into a blue funk. She might have something that she is really looking forward to and she thinks it's going to turnout a certain way and if it doesn't turn out the way she thinks it's going to turn out, she really just goes into a downward spiral and goes into a blue funk and she closes herself off from the world for a couple of days and I can always tell when she is going to do this. But the question is do I understand why she is doing it? I might feel that I know her but do I understand her enough that I can be compassionate with her? Another example, I have another girlfriend who again, great girlfriend and she needs a lot of downtime for herself. I am really high energy and again, I can always predict when this girlfriend has just had way too much pressure in her life and she is going to need quiet downtime, so that's knowing. That's being able to predict. That might be reading the instrument panel in a certain way but again, do I understand that girlfriend. Do I understand why she feels that way? Do I understand what it is about her that makes her tick? Another example is my husband. My husband always says, "We need to leave by 8 o'clock." He is in the car by 10 to eight. Now, I can predict this that by 10 to eight he is going to be tapping on his watch, wondering why I am not there and giving me that hmmm look. I know he is going to be doing that. I can predict he is going to do that, but do I understand? Again, do I know what makes him tick, do I understand why he does that and can I have patience and compassion with that? So, there is a big difference between knowing someone and being able to predict, "Oh yeah, they are going to do this. This is the way they are going to react. Oh, I know exactly what they are going to say," and understanding why so that we can have the patience and the compassion and the sympathy for that person and all those things if we truly understand as much as we possibly can about the other person, the more success we will have in our relationships. Now, no two people are exactly the same and it is impossible for me to ever understand exactly what another person is thinking or feeling and no one can ever understand exactly what I am thinking or feeling because we literally cannot walk in someone else's shoes. But the more we can move from that 'knowing' to the 'understanding' the more we will really be reading the instrument panel and the better we will be able to fly in those low visibility situations.