Do you jump to conclusions? Do you feel the need to know in advance how things will turn out? Do you end people’s sentences for them? How are these scenarios a detriment to you and your relationships?
I have jumped to conclusions so many times in my home life. I have been married for 22 years and have two boys who are still living at home. Being the only girl in the house and having lived with these men for 18-22 years, I feel that I know them very well. The truth of it is, I don’t.
As much as people share, they keep much more of themselves hidden. We are all on a path of self discovery and we change quickly; we adapt; move ahead but sometimes fall behind. Often times, we don’t even know ourselves as well as we should. So how can I expect to know them, their thoughts, what they are doing when they are away from home, and so on? I can’t. I can only go off of the things I see or what they tell me.
My youngest son just got out of a relationship. He explained what the reasoning was. Even though he told me, I chose not to believe that reason and jumped to conclusions as to the real reason it was ended. I didn’t voice it thankfully. I know how that would have ended. The truth was that it was not my business. What he told me is what he wanted me to believe, whether it was true or not. To guess an alternate ending would have been anything but unfair to him and the girl. It really wasn’t my business.
I know I’m not the only one who has done this. Perhaps you have as well and ended up voicing what you imagined to be true. Just know, that in doing so, you set yourself up for an argument with the person you are assuming about. I don’t know of anyone who would like to have someone voice their opinion of what they thought was going on in their life or their thoughts. I know I don’t.
As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in a McDonalds where I witnessed this very thing happen. A man approached another gentleman who was dressed in business attire and headed out the door. The first man apologized to the second for spilling his drink on the table. The second man smiled politely, giggled and said, “That’s ok. It’s alright. I don’t work here,” and left the building. Now, I’m not going to jump to conclusions about how the man felt who spilled his drink but I know how I would feel hearing several people who overheard, chucking quietly at the assumption.
We don’t only jump to conclusions about what people think and feel. We do it about our future, the future of others, who people are, what they have gone through in their past, the type of person they are and what people need to improve their lives.
In business think we know what a customer is trying to say and shut them down before they finish explaining their situation or without completely listening to what they have to say.
Some of us try to get inside the mind of the person they are in a relationship with and guess their true emotions and intentions.
All of this assuming has the potential to lead to rumors, arguments, break ups, divorce, getting fired, unnecessary depression and so much more.
So how do we avoid it? The first step is to catch yourself doing it. Think before you speak and ask yourself a few questions such as,
- “Do the facts that I know support this?”
- “Are there questions I should be asking to clarify the situation before I project my thoughts onto the other person?”
- “Is this something that is even my business?”
- “Does the outcome affect me?”
- “How would I feel if someone assumed this of me?”
- My favorite question to clarify is asked of the other person, “What do you mean by that?”
When it comes to you, it is more than fair to ask the other person, “I feel that you may have just assumed that. What facts are you basing what you just said on?” I know my youngest has said that to me. I think the first time I was really taken aback by it but it stopped me in my tracks and made me really think. I then had a rational conversation with him. The more he has asked and pointed out that I do it, the less times I have found myself doing it and I catch myself before voicing it most times now and I feel better for it.
When we eliminate assumptions and stop jumping to conclusions, life seems to run more smoothly as we lessen the number of arguments, feel better about other people and ourselves, increase the effectiveness of how we run our business or our job and we free ourselves up for more productive, higher thinking.
Remember, we cannot predict the future either. If you are projecting a negative outcome on a situation, you have a higher chance of being right. Based on the Law of Attraction, “What we think about comes about.” Be careful what you are thinking.
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