Two stories

If you ask two people to describe the same meeting – or any other social happening they participate in -, you will most likely get two different stories. Sure, there will be some points in common, and yet many of the details will appear as if they do not belong to the same shared experience.

This is even more true the more history there is between the two people, and between them and the others attending the event. We all build our own narratives, and our mind is happier when it can focus just on things that confirm the narratives rather than disprove them. It is not uncommon to talk to two halves of a long term relationship, and find their versions of what happened in certain circumstances are quite opposite: one wanted to show affection, the other interpreted rejection; one thought there was a deep discussion about a certain matter, the other is sure the thing was never even considered in the realm of possibilities.

We need to accept this reality.

And we need to overcommunicate when it has the potential to harm something we hold dear. Negotiating shared meaning is a conscious effort, and it’s possibly the only way to avoid turning to each other as strangers one day or the other.

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