I find myself more and more questioning myself on assumptions; and asking myself if something I thought I knew was something I actually know or is it something I’m assuming. And many times the answer is that it is an assumption.
What I find even more fascinating though is how many people believe in their assumptions. They are an absolute truth. They are fact. And yet how often do we hear, “Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t invite you because I didn’t think it was your kind of scene” or “I’m sorry, I thought it wouldn’t bother you” or we become suspicious or angry because we know why someone acted the way they did and ultimately it was to hurt us or to try some dubious trick. Meanwhile…it may have had nothing to do with anything you’re thinking. In fact, it had nothing to do with you. Could you believe that though? Shock. Horror. Nothing to do with you.
This is the negative consequence of assumptions. And without communication, assumptions would just lead to conflict; makes us suspicious and believing in scenarios that are not fact or truth; but are stories we’ve made up in our own minds.
However…yet…just maybe…can there be another side of assumptions? Let’s admit, even if it’s just to ourselves, that sometimes we allow assumptions to linger when they benefit us…”I thought you don’t like cooking so I made supper” or “I remember that you don’t enjoy group gatherings so I kept the function small”. Maybe over time you’ve changed and cooking is now a joy (let’s be honest, it always is) and maybe you’ve gotten used to group gatherings and developed a coping mechanism…but if people still believe old stuff then do you really want to shatter this image they have of you?
That’s the biggest problem with assumptions. They are static. Even if they were true at a point in time, they may no longer be true now. And that’s because people, environments, worlds change.
How do we then avoid assumptions or even better check whether they’re still true or not? Two pointers; firstly ask about it and secondly, listen to the answer. That’s it. Be curious. Genuinely curious because “A lack of communication breeds assumptions of what the other is thinking or feeling, and assumptions are, more often than not, incorrect.” – Anonymous.