Find Happiness 64: Are You Over-Analyzing What Others Say?



Does your interaction with certain other people bug you? Does that interaction have a tendency to ruin what would be an otherwise peaceful half day or full day? Here’s one possible reason it’s happening and a simple suggestion on how to eliminate the aggravation.

You may have a habit of analyzing what others say to several levels. Here’s an example:

You and Joe are members of a club. The club has a billiards table. The President of the Club is very restrictive about your use of the table, but allows Joe to use it whenever and as often as he likes.

Whenever Joe and you meet, Joe says, “I had such a great time playing billiards at the Club for several hours this week.”

You think, “Joe is saying this just to make me feel bad. He always has to have one up on me. He’s doing this just because when we were in high school I always got higher marks than him in physics… “

And every time this happens:

  • You feel discriminated against because the President gives you lesser rights, and this makes you angry
  • You feel helpless, because there happens to be no way you can make the President like you as much as Joe, and therefore no way you can counter what Joe is doing
  • You are depressed because of the two above reactions, and are likely unable to concentrate for a portion of the day and maybe on a recurring basis during the near future
  • Your relationship with Joe takes a beating.

But what if you did not analyze what Joe said so much. When he talks about enjoying billiards, what if you just listened and didn’t dissect what he said.  You would be saved anger, helplessness, depression and a fractured relationship! Is that a good thing or not?

The mottos of the story are:

  1. Unless it is part of your professional duties, do not overly analyze the reasons for people doing or saying things.
  2. Accept people for what they are.

As always, try these method out for about a month. Keep using them if you see benefit, modify them if you want to or drop them if you do not benefit (off the record: I’ll be very surprised if you derive no benefit!).

To your peace and happiness,





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