We all have an agenda.
An agenda is not necessarily a hidden, nefarious plan to get away with something at other people’s expense.
An agenda is like a set of goals, or a plan for what we will try to achieve.
Some researchers have proposed there is one basic motivation, one agenda that runs deeper than any other for humans. They say our minds are designed to figure out the agenda of other human beings.
We are endlessly curious about other people’s intentions…their agenda. It’s a deeply rooted motivation. It’s a hard-wired part of the human psyche.
Actors do a great job of showing scenes that allow us to guess the agenda of a main character in a movie or television show. But as just about anyone will tell you, the book is always better than the movie. Why? Because it satisfies our deep curiosity about the agenda of other human beings in a way that is not possible with any other medium for telling a story.
In a book you actually get the opportunity to learn the inner-most private thoughts of the main character. That is what allows us to vicariously experience the story as though their world was our own.
Why would our genetics cause us to be so tuned-in to the motivations of others? The researchers believe it is all about success and survival. Those who can read between the lines to understand the motivation and intentions of others have an advantage in all aspects of life.
However, our ability to understand someone else’s agenda is anything but perfect. Our minds are sophisticated at generating guesses, but we often guess wrong.
A common cause of relationship failure is wrong guesses. We make an assumption about the agenda behind the actions of a lover and end up generating all kinds of problems.
One of the things you can do to increase your success with romantic relationships is to help your partner make better guesses about your agenda. Doing so has two simple steps.
1. You look at the relationship from his perspective.
- You ponder the various ways he might perceive your agenda for the relationship or an area of interaction that has become important for the two of you.
- You specifically look for possible misinterpretations he could feasibly make based on your actions and based on what you do and do not say aloud.
2. You reveal your agenda to him through simple verbal expression of your desires, your perspectives, and your hopes for the future.
- Without drama or preamble, you speak about your true intentions on some topic that matters to the relationship.
- You dispel any assumptions he may have regarding alternative agendas (the ones you realized he might have in step 1).
- You ask him if he has any questions (to ensure he does not think you are leaving something out due to a hidden agenda).
A lot of heartache can be avoided with this simple two-step process. Some of you may wonder if there are situations where this advice does not apply. There certainly are.
You do need to keep a certain level of mystery and intrigue in the relationship to maintain romantic tension, which is very healthy for your relationship. However, for the vast majority of situations in which you are building romantic tension, it can be done with playful topics and playful situations that do not contain room for potentially disastrous misinterpretations.
More often than not, honesty and clarity build healthier, longer-lasting relationships that are more satisfying to both partners. I hope you will take this concept to heart and use it in your relationship.