How assumptions rob you from new friendships and a deeper connection.
The catch of assuming
Some of our assumptions seem logical. “No one wants to be stuck with a needle”, except the millions of people who willingly get acupuncture treatments and benefit from it big time. “Jane doesn’t like olives, she would never eat your home-made pasta sauce”, except that the taste of the olives are just a shadow in it and who knows, she might love it if she tried. When we assume something, we lose the chance to communicate and we automatically shut down connection. We are left behind, in a way. Here’s an example:
Even though I was often left out of fun things because others assumed I wouldn’t be interested, I myself still made (and make) the mistake to assume. More often than I like to admit. My own ‘logical’ assumptions were putting a bad taste into relationships.
One time, I didn’t ask my friend if she wanted to join me to the Jazz festival. After all, she turned me down for the 3 years before that. But that time something changed and she did want to go. Only I had already other arrangements and I couldn’t go with her. Was my assumption justifiable, even logical? From the outside, of course. Was it helping my friendship with her, even though I was “right” not to ask her? Not at all. It would have taken me less than 2 minutes to ask. But because I didn’t, we lost a chance to go there together for the first time and most likely have lots of fun too.
If assumption is preventing communication, our antidote is exactly that: communication.
Ever since I’m aware of this, I often see how people find it difficult to ask, myself included. There are so many reasons why it’s so difficult. And I’m not sure yet why I find it so difficult. Fear of rejection? Usually yes, but how serious is it really if someone doesn’t want to go to the jazz festival? It’s probably not you, it can be the music, the crowd, something totally different, absolutely nothing to do with you. And if it is you, the person would not hang out with you on the first place.
The lesson I’ve learned here is to practice asking. Asking better questions, communicate more and better. That’s my ongoing practice. What’s yours?