Context is everything

Imagine your partner standing in front of you, holding a hammer.

What do you assume it’s for?

If it’s been a good week and you enjoy a strong friendship with one another, you might assume they’re going to hang that art you’ve been meaning to put up. They might even be constructing a shelf or a birdhouse.

But if Negative Sentiment Override has kicked in, you may assume your partner is up to something nefarious. Are they about to throw it through a window? Destroy something?

A hammer can be used to build something or to take something apart.

What if you assumed your partner was there to build something with you?

—Source: The Gottman Institute