Don’t Assume

ask

Have you ever assumed that someone was upset with you based upon their actions, tone of voice or facial expressions? Then you find out later that you were wrong? Assuming can result in unnecessary conflict. It can start rumors, ruin friendships and cause family members to separate.

Unfortunately, this happens a lot. People assume that someone feels a certain way, when in fact they couldn’t be further from the truth.

One thing I’ve learned over the past few years is to never assume anything. Why assume something when you can just ask? I think that many people don’t ask, because they fear that others will see them as insecure. Others don’t, because they are certain that their assumption is correct. Therefore they don’t feel the need to seek confirmation.

I’ve gotten to the point where asking for confirmation, is much more important than fearing how people will perceive me. The same applies even when I wholeheartedly believe that my assumption is right. People who know me well, know that if I’m curious about something, I’ll flat out ask them. To me, that is so much easier than putting tension on myself, worrying about something that in most cases isn’t even true.

People waste so much time having a one way fight with someone else, who isn’t even aware that there’s a fight going on. There’s nothing wrong with asking for confirmation. In fact, by doing so a lot of potential problems could be avoided.

Don’t assume anything. Just ask. It’s so much easier.

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34 Responses to Don’t Assume

  1. It is so much easier. I still struggle with assuming sometimes. Growing up is so hard sometimes! 🙂 Even at my age.

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  2. I couldn’t agree with you more. I learned a long time ago it was better to ask for clarification than to poison the well with assumptions. I like to say now that “assumptions make you look like an asshole” and it’s hard not to feel hurt or frustrated when others assume things about me that don’t have a shred of truth to them. I only wish that more people would spend less time making assumptions and more time building constructive relationships with others.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I’ve heard that same statement said of assumptions. It can be pretty accurate at times. I’m the same with you on feeling hurt when people assume things about me. Maybe that’s a big part of why I ask people, because it sure would be nice to be treated the same way. You’re right, life is too short to waste time on petty things.

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  3. suzjones says:

    I had the same thing happen at work yesterday. I came home with it playing in my mind. I was going to ask but that probably wouldn’t be a good idea. I made the decision that I am going to put it out of my mind. If I have upset someone, then knowing my workplace I will find out in due course.

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    • mewhoami says:

      It can happen everywhere and with any type of relationship. In the workplace, you don’t have to worry because as you said, you will find out eventually. Until then, don’t fret over it. It’s not worth the time or the energy.

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  4. Right on!!! It is so much easier and better for everyone – and I figure if they don’t tell me the truth when I ask for it, then it’s on them! 🙂 Excellent post!

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    • mewhoami says:

      Exactly! That’s the way I see it too. Whatever answer they give me, is the one I’ll take. If they lie, then they have to be the one to deal with that. It’s off my shoulders. Good for you for asking them instead of assuming.

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  5. LindaGHill says:

    Communication – direct communication – is essential in any relationship. Nice post. 🙂

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  6. TJ Petri says:

    Insecurity and fear seem to be primary culprits in those of us who assume that others are mad at us, and in some cases we are so insecure we head into a conversation aggressively as if ready for a battle, all because we are insecure and ruled by fear.
    I think it was Dr. Phil who quoted some study that estimated 90% of all the fears and worries we have about things or people never come to pass, or were never true to begin with.

    Great topic and another great post!
    TjP
    http://www.dontlabelmykid.com

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    • mewhoami says:

      I completely agree. Sometimes people always have their defenses up, expecting and assuming that everything is an attack against them. In fact, rarely is that the actual case. Insecurity can cause a lot of issues, but sadly many people are. I agree with your second comment as well. rarely do our worries ever come to pass.

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  7. My husband has really helped me in this area! I am very grateful. It makes life so much less complicated.

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  8. But the difficult bit, it isn’t asking the person if they’re mad at you, is it? The difficult bit is making that switch in your head to seeing that you are just assuming they are mad at you – seeing that it isn’t a fact! I wonder if some people ever quite manage this switch.

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    • mewhoami says:

      That’s true. Some people struggle more with correcting their own thoughts. It’s hard at times for people to admit and accept that they’re feelings are wrong.

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  9. sothislife says:

    I see you’ve met my family…..rumors are their life blood. And I’ve tried asking them about something said and they will deny it and a week or two will go by and some other family member will tell me so and so is mad because I asked such and such.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Rumors are the worst! This is especially true around family, because no one knows who to believe. It’s even harder when you can’t get a straight answer from anyone.

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  10. Jenni says:

    You are right, but the problem there is the more insecure the person the more likely they are to assume a negative response from someone and are even less likely to inquire. I’ve watched it with a friend of mine grow to a point that he overheard a conversation as he passed by two people at work about sexual discrimination and he immediately assumed it was about him.

    He went home and then was over for dinner that night and I could tell something was wrong so being the sensitive person that I am I badgered him until he fessed up. I was so shocked I couldn’t say anything for a moment and then I saw him shrink back and I realised he thought I was agreeing with those women.

    So I asked if he had ever really spoken to them and he said that one of them no as she was in a different section and the other just hi, how’s you day going sort of stuff.

    We kept going round and round until I must admit I snapped and said – I hate to break it to you but every conversation you overhear is not about you, every time you pass people talking it isn’t about you – you are not the centre of the universe and you need to stop thinking of life as it revolves around your feelings.

    I felt bad but then I realised that I was right in a way – the whole problem, anxiety and depression based insecurity is very self involved and it is hard to think outside of yourself and therefor you relate everything you hear and see to yourself in a negative manner. Harsh sounding – yes. True – YES since I’ve been there done that myself and at times find myself wondering – was that comment a sideswipe at me etc

    Mindfulness techniques usually work the best to help ward off those responses to situations.

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    • mewhoami says:

      You are right about that! I have a family member who believes every conversation is about him and that anyone whispering is whispering about him. It gets old.

      I know that it must have been a little hard to break the news to your friend, but sometimes people have to hear it put bluntly in order for them to get their mind straight. Sometimes people just don’t realize what they’re doing and they believe that they’re assumptions are right. It’s good that you told him the truth.

      But like he and you both, I’ve done the same thing. What’s funny is that when I was a teenager, I was even told the same thing that you told him. It stung, but it knocked some sense into me.

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  11. Glynis Jolly says:

    I can’t say that I never assume because with some people the pattern has been so steady for so long that I just naturally go into the mode. So far my assumptions have been right but I think about that one time I’ll be wrong. I have no doubt that it will occur sometime.

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    • mewhoami says:

      That makes sense. Sometimes we learn how people are and we automatically revert back to what they’ve shown us about themselves. It’s good that you haven’t wrongly assumed yet and as long as you have an open mind to the possibility of it happening later down the road, then I think you’ll be fine. 🙂

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  12. This is why I love working with an all-male crew (except for me o course). They call each other nasty names all day and no one gets their back up. SUCH a relief!

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  13. I used to work with someone who said “never assume all it does is make an ass out of u and me” Talking about perceived problems is definitely the way to go in my opinion also.

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  14. True, true true. Great post! I’m assuming you are a genius. I mean… are you a genius?

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  15. April says:

    I was a big assumer (made up word). Caused a lot of insecurity. What made me stop was when my therapist asked me if I harbored any ill thoughts toward anyone else. That’s when I realized–I was assuming what others were thinking. I believe in asking for clarification. It usually works for me, unless I’m dealing with too many “issues”.

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    • mewhoami says:

      That’s true. Believing that others perceive you a certain way, can certainly cause you to tense up and become on edge. I understand though and that’s exactly what caused me to change. I got tired of going through my days assuming things that weren’t even true most of the time. So, now I just ask. It’s so much easier and I waste a lot less time worrying.

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  16. idiotwriter says:

    HOW cool is THAT??
    I wonder if we had the some thing for lunch or something? 😉
    Thanks for leading me to this lovely little entwinement of thoughts – gotto love it when that happens hey!

    (you have put this across most eloquently my dear – bravo!)

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