Most of us have heard the phrase, “When you assume things you make an ass of u and me,” used by boss-type-people to underlings who made assumptions about how work was to be carried out and subsequently made a mess of the job, leaving both parties looking foolish.
Aside from pointing out that it’s a super-unhelpful thing to say, let’s leave that to the side for the moment.
For the purposes of this post, I want to talk about the assumptions we make about others that have the potential to blow back on us.
For example, perhaps someone is being hideous so we tell ourselves, “Oh, he’s being a jackass because he’s never liked me.”
Only to discover that the reason he’s grumpy is because he and his partner are splitting up.
Or, we’ll think to ourselves, “I know she’s going to be mad that I’ve changed my mind about X; probably best not to tell her what I’m doing.”
Only to discover she couldn’t care less about your decision—but now she’s grumpy because you’ve been avoiding her.
In both of those cases—and so many more—our negative assumptions cause unnecessary coldness/drama/upset for both parties…
What to do?
First, make a practice of flagging your assumptions.
How can you start?
Begin by noticing if you find yourself thinking, “Oh, but he always…” or “Oh, but she never…” or “Oh, but I just know…”
And then notice if that internal sentence ends with you thinking the very best or the very worst of that person.
If you discover that your assumptions tend toward the negative stop making them an ass—and ask.
Before your assumptions about them make an ass of you.
If you find people often make assumptions about you—and you wish to correct them—take a look at “Be a Trampoline, Not a Backboard”