"Common Sense is Ruining Relationships"

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, it is with great pleasure that today I will be bringing to justice a serial killer that we've all come to know and trust named "Common Sense."  For years common sense has been unconsciously destroying/killing relationships and marriages.  It is common sense that keeps individuals from effectively communicating because they assume that their thoughts are "common," causing them not to explain why they do the things they do, or how they come to the conclusions that they come to.  The result of this is people keeping their thoughts, and feelings to themselves and getting angry or feeling disrespected when someone else doesn't respond or react to a situation or scenario the way that their "common sense" said that they should.

What we consider to be common sense is actually our personal outlook and decisions about our everyday life experiences.  The problem with this is that our outlook on life, i.e. point of view, or values, come from the sum of every life experience that we've had up to that current life experience.  Being as though no one has ever had the exact same life experience, even if you are a Siamese twin, there is no way for a group or two people for that matter, to have the exact same outlook on life.  With this being said, and there being no reference person, or group to measure what "common sense" is, this proves that there is no such thing as common sense.

Exhibit A.

To test my theory on the result of using common sense, I asked several different people, at several different places and times, if they liked pizza.  They all replied yes.

I replied "me too" to show that we both had something in common.  Then I asked them where they would recommend me to go to find the best pizza.

Without any hesitation they all spout out with confidence their favorite pizza place.  After receiving their answers I asked them what it is about pizza that makes a pizza good to them.  Some said the crust, others said the sauce, and one of them said the cheese.  After getting a description of the thing that made pizza great to them, I intentionally told them that I liked something different about the pizza that they found to be the best part (if they said the sauce is what made a pizza good I said the crust, if they said the crust I said the cheese etc).  After revealing this to them I asked would they still recommend the same pizza place now that they knew that I liked something different about the pizza than they did.  They all said no.

Why did this happen?  Why did they assume that I would like pizza for the same reasons they did?  You got it, common sense.  Common Sense will tell you that everyone feels the way you feel about things, likes things for the same reasons you do, and thinks the way that you think.

Had my question been a sincere one, and I wasn't aware of the tricks and schemes plotted by Common Sense, I would have gone to those recommended pizza parlors and had a bad experience.  I would've possibly had an attitude with the person who recommended I go to the parlor for wasting my time and money because they had no idea what good pizza was.

This happens all of the time. We miss out on opportunities to communicate effectively, like ask that extra question, or share that extra information, because we get so caught up in our views that we accept them as "common sense." Mistaking our views for common sense results in us assuming that everyone shares the same views as us, which causes us not to share our thoughts, feelings, reasons for our tone, vocal pitch, facial expressions, and the list could go on and on.

In closing, it is imperative that we rid society of this menace we call common sense.  We need to come to grips with the fact that Common Sense was birthed by us in an attempt to make our reasoning make sense to us.  Until we plead Common Sense guilty and lock him up for good, by deciding not to be lazy ineffective communicators, meaning taking the time to ask those extra questions, or share that extra information we consider Common Sense to help give those we speak to an opportunity to understand us, which will help them to better communicate with us, Common sense will continue to ruin our relationships.

Prosecution rests...      

The author of The Handbook for Increasing Your Relationship IQ. 

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  • DMV

    If you do that you are communicating properly.  The issue comes when we don't communicate because we assume people just know something or see and feel things exactly the way that we do.  The point of the piece is to get people to communicate better, share all the details, even the things that you feel are obvious.  This will help those who assume they know and understand you really understand you.  I'm glad you enjoyed it.  


  • Chicago-Midwest

    Ok, I get it, but what if, you speak what's on your mind, and talk about how you feel...what will that be? Not to expect, anyone to feel the same way as I do, but just let me express those thoughts and feelings? Good post.

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