Sometimes we might draw one conclusion, but we might be missing something.

On Relationships: When In Doubt, First, Do a “Double-Check”: Lessons from Life’s Classroom

Sometimes we might draw one conclusion, but we might be missing something.

Lessons from Life’s Classroom: Because sometimes, small things can teach large lessons..

I had a conversation with my mother yesterday that reminded me how quickly misunderstandings can develop.

To give a bit of background, she’d been trying to get in touch with someone we know for quite sometime now, sending text messages and calls, with no response.

Some time had passed, and she’d begun to think that this person was ignoring her, so she started asking around to see if anyone else had been able to reach this person.

“Did the number change?” Nope, we just talked yesterday. “Hmm, that is so strange.”

So yesterday we talk, and she lets me know that she was finally able to get in touch with the person. When I asked about what happened, it turned out that she checked her phone again and saw that she had the wrong area code programmed into her phone.

The rest of the numbers were right, but the area code was wrong.


Honest mistake right? We both laughed, and I’m glad that she was able to talk it over with the other person and come to realize that her perception about the situation was different from what was actually taking place.

I really thanked her for sharing that story with me because it reminded me of times in my own life where I might have been worried or upset about something I thought was happening, only to later find that I was missing information.

On relationships in work and in life: when in doubt, first, do a “double-check”. 

Some might say “double-check”, others may prefer the term reality check, or reality testing, but it really boils down to taking time to stop and think about how we think and feel about what we think may be happening, match it up with what we know from before, and be able to ask ourselves the question “is this really the case, or am I missing something here?”

This can also work with people who we aren’t very familiar with, but I think this is especially the case in strong relationships when we might think we’ve been wronged in some way. It can be as simple as doing an evaluation and coming to understand that “hmm…, (so and so) wouldn’t intentionally do something like that. I wonder if there’s something else that’s going on here that I haven’t thought about.”  My mother’s story reminded me of situations I’ve been in where doing a “double-check” with myself has been helpful to me.

So try it out.

When in doubt, do a “double-check”. If it’s still unclear, ask for clarification.

Sometimes we might come to one conclusion, but if we can take a second look, we may find that we might be missing something.

Have you ever had to do a “double-check”?


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW



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Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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7 Responses

  1. Jessica Reese says:

    I love this one!

    • Thank you Jessica!

      I’m glad you enjoyed this piece.

      Things aren’t always the way they seem, and although I don’t always succeed, I try to do double checks in my life and work as much as possible.

      Misunderstandings can develop in an instant, and taking time to stop and think about things can help us to make sure that we don’t act in ways that we’ll regret later on.

      Thanks again Jessica for stopping by and sharing your comment!

  2. Treva Gail says:

    Hi Relando,

    I haven’t been around much lately, but this post is right on time for me! I was pondering something that happened at work that has been gnawing at me for several days. This post made me realize that I need to take into consideration that there may be some information that I am missing, and that my interpretation of this persons behavior could be way off. Thanks for this timely reminder!

    • Hello Treva! I’m so glad you chimed in. I was wondering how you were doing. You were one of the first people to comment on my notes when I started, and I still appreciate your contribution. I’m so glad this came to you at a good time! I find myself having to refer back to this piece again and again. I hope your double check is fruitful. Thanks again.

      • Treva Gail says:

        :) I love how N.A.H has grown over the years. There is so much useful information on here. I’ll have to take some time out to read through some of this good stuff! Happy 4th!

  3. louise says:

    Hey Relando! So what about when you are NOT missing any information, and this same thing happens? This is my situation with some people I truly love……..

    • Welcome louise,

      I’m going to publish a note about the importance of working to repair damaged relationships soon, so check back for that on December 31st of this year.

      One thing that stood out to me in what you’ve said is that it is a situation that happens with some people that you truly Love.

      “Truly love”. What a meaningful statement.

      In my view, relationships have purposes, and when we find ourselves in situations where we are doing harm, or harm is being done to us, upon taking an honest look we might find that the purpose of the relationship has been forgotten by either ourselves, the other person, or the both of us.

      If “love” is the purpose of the relationship, and either we, or the other find that our thoughts and actions are not demonstrative of that, then the “information” about the value of that person and that purpose is either missing, forgotten, or abandoned.

      That’s why I really value doing the “double-check” because in doing so can give us the opportunity to catch ourselves and do some “reality testing” before jumping to our own conclusions which may arise because of something we’ve experienced in the past, or because of some insecurity we may have.

      “Would this person really intentionally do something to be hurtful to me, or is it something I might be missing? Is there something they might be missing that I might need to inform them of so that they will know how I feel about x, y, or z in the future?”

      But yes, even after doing some serious evaluation of ourselves and others, seeking to give and get clarification about what may be taking place, sometimes we may find that the purpose is not what it once was. At that point we have some important decisions to make about whether or not we will remain involved.

      I would never advocate for remaining in relationships that are hurtful and unhealthy, and even in remaining very general, I am missing information in responding to your question.

      But if you don’t believe you are at that point, perhaps seeking clarification, or giving clarification, informing your person/people about what works for you and what doesn’t, and the impact that their actions or inactions have on you personally could be helpful to create movement towards resolving the conflict.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope you come back in the future.

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