When we’re reading into a cryptic comment (usually sent via a chat or email app), we can choose one of two interpretations – the kind one or the unkind one.
The kind one assumes good intent and mutual respect. The unkind one assumes the opposite and, on our worst days, can make us feel like we’ve been punched in the gut.
A lesson that I’ve learnt many times over – especially during the past year – is: default to the kind interpretation.
That’s not just because it is true 95%+ of the time (it is). It is also because it helps us respond with optimism and kindness – both of which help us either address the situation constructively and/or diffuse it.