Romeo & Juliet & Their Evil Friend, Assumption

photo: playbill.com

I hate Romeo and Juliet.

There, I said it.

I know a lot of people tout it as the greatest love story ever, but I’ve always thought it was ridiculous, and here’s why (major spoilers by the way).

romeo-and-juliet_o_303979There was too much ambiguity in their communication and too many assumptions made.

I am a firm believer in strong communication. In fact, I yell, “COMMUNICATION,” at nearly every chick flick I watch, because all of the problems in chick flicks stem from poor communication.

Romeo and Juliet’s relationship was doomed from the beginning because it is built on a web of lies, assumptions, and omissions of truth.

Assumption 1: Romeo assumes Juliet is not a Capulet, even though he is at a Capulet party

They both instantly fall in love with each other and neglect to find out who each other is until way after cupid has struck. Romeo just assumes that Juliet isn’t a Capulet, which is a pretty brave assumption, considering the fact he crashed her family’s party.

When they finally discover each others’ identity, they go ahead and get married and conveniently forget to tell their parents. Juliet even has the perfect opportunity to tell them when her father walks in the next day and tells her she is going to marry someone else.

Assumption 2: Romeo will get the memo

Juliet’s fatal flaw occurs when she assumes the friar told Romeo about her plan to “fake” kill herself with a magic potion. All she had to do was wait for confirmation that Romeo received and understood the plan, and she could have saved both of them. Or she could have told her nurse to hang around until Romeo got there to make sure he didn’t do something irrational.

Because Juliet is so impatient, she seals her and her new husband’s fate when she puts her lips to the fake death potion.

Assumption 3: Juliet is actually dead

When Romeo finds Juliet looking very dead, he assumes she’s dead (which is a fair assumption) and then he drinks real death poison to kill himself.

(Which bequests another question as to where everyone is getting these poisons from and why you can purchase them so easily when you’re only 17. But I digress.)

Except she isn’t dead. So then, when she wakes up and finds Romeo died to be with her in death, even though she wasn’t dead, naturally the only thing to do is kill herself to be with Romeo in death.

Romeo and Juliet, albeit fiction, is an extreme of what can happen when there is ambiguity in our communication with others. Often times, what we say and what other people actually hear and understand are not one and the same.

The best way to get rid of ambiguity and assumptions in communication is to say how you feel respectfully and honestly, in a straight forward manner. Adding your thoughts and feelings to your communication will go a long way in getting rid of ambiguity.

For instance, if my best friend says something like, “That’s an interesting sweater,” I could take it to mean any number of things including but not limited to:

She hates my sweater.

This must look really awful on me.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Oh, wow thanks! I like it too!

Because she didn’t tell me how she honestly felt about my sweater, I was able to make assumptions, good and bad. If, instead she had said, “I really like that sweater. It’s interesting,” then I would know exactly how she feels. Then, I wouldn’t have to worry if the sweater was ugly or if it made me look bad.

So I challenge you to be better than Romeo and Juliet by communicating clearly, honestly and in a straight forward manner, and leaving no room for their evil friend, assumptions!

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