Ever hear the saying, “Don’t assume. Because it’ll make an ASS of U and ME?”
I am learning [more than ever] how true that statement is. It turns out a majority of arguments and pre-arguments* are caused by assumptions. Of course, there are times where someone’s stupidity or cruelty is the source of an argument but I’m finding [at least lately] tension and would-be arguments could have been avoided completely with just a little bit of communication.
Communication is hard to come by these days.
It appears everyone is guarding their “stuff.” Whether it’s physical or emotional stuff – it’s risky to put yourself out there. More often than not, a simple question or comment would completely fizzle the situation entirely. Or a situation wouldn’t even exist to need fizzling.
I recently planned an event and forgot to invite someone. It wasn’t intentional. Had they lived nearby and had I known exactly when they’d be in town, they would have been invited. Or if someone had reminded me. Or if I had my head screwed on during a particularly crazy time of year (Christmas) while my husband was shipped out due to bad weather – I would have invited them.
But I didn’t.
Instead, I walked in to a crowded room that suddenly went quiet with my arrival. It didn’t take long for someone to mention there were complaints about my “invite list.” I can totally understand that they felt left out or forgotten about but cut me some slack.
It still amazes me that a room full of people [who have known me for 14+ years] STILL don’t know who I am.
I would never intentionally leave someone out. I don’t play games or sport multiple faces – I am who I’ve always been. It was a mistake. Of course, I apologized and “explained myself” but that wasn’t good enough. [I don’t think anything is good enough for some people but that’s not the issue I’m discussing at the moment.] They all assumed I would do something like that when a simple question, even from a third-party privately, would’ve cleared the air immediately.
Situations like this seem to be playing out quite a bit these days.
I’m definitely guilty of giving a sideways glance to someone who behaves out-of-the-norm or asks a question off-kilter. I assume there’s a motive or some way it’ll come back to bite me – especially if I’m too honest. I also assume that certain people will keep their word when they say it and I assume that a friend is someone who cares.
That’s not always the case.
And yes, sometimes it plays out the other way too. I have assumed that someone was probing for information and they were just curious. I have assumed someone was a jerk but they were just insecure**. I’ve assumed my kids were up to no good and they were just playing quietly.
The point is assuming gives us no ground to stand on.
We can take a guess about where someone is coming from but until they have communicated it in some way, we can’t see the world through their eyes. We can’t know for sure. So instead of making asses of ourselves – how about we try practicing a little bit gentleness and giving the benefit of the doubt?
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net
*That’s what I call that awful tension that occurs before things blow up.
**Ok. They were insecure and a jerk. But I know of others who give that jerk-vibe and were truly kind people when I got to know them.