There comes a point in situations where we want some indication of what the future holds. At the very least, we want to know that we’re either on a similar page or not wasting our time, energy, effort, emotions or even money. We want to know a person’s intentions.

It might be that we want to know what their plans are for us.

Do you see us being in a committed relationship? Do you have a plan for my career development?

Maybe we want to know, even if we don’t come out straight with it, whether they have ‘good’ or ‘bad’ intentions towards us, or whether they want similar things.

I, um, enjoy our dates, but I don’t want to continue if you’re not open to a serious relationship… I had such a good time playing with my nephew. So adorable… Hint hint, are you interested in having a family?My ex ran off with someone else, and I find it hard to trust people… Hint hint, are you going to hurt me too?

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to know someone’s intentions. We’re all only human, and we hate feeling unsafe. Still, we have to be careful of trying to shake out someone’s intentions as a means of avoiding the vulnerability of showing up. It’s that quest to ‘know’ so that we don’t have to think, feel, act too much outside of our comfort zone.

Even if someone tells us what we want to hear, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a ‘dead cert’.

It doesn’t mean that we ignore the due diligence of getting to know someone or something, as well as paying attention to the reality of the person or situation.

We need to ask about someone’s intentions to clarify that we’re on the same page–possible shared core values–or to establish what something is or isn’t. Like when we define the relationship. It’s a series of conversations, not a one-off comment or conversation that might not even be direct.

Trying to gauge someone’s intentions can’t be used to categorically predict the future or to try to override anxiety or knowledge about something we’ve already ignored.

So, sure, we can ask questions, have conversations, talk about our needs, desires and expectations. We can make plans, check in, express concerns. Still, we will need to pay attention to who someone is or what something’s about. There’s no dodging that vulnerability, much as we might try. And if that’s what we’re trying to do, then that speaks more for our intentions than someone else’s.

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