The Dangers of Assumptions

It has been quite some time since I have written anything, mostly due to the fact I have been struggling with things to write about.  I was talking to a good friend of mine on the phone a couple of weeks ago, who is an experienced and published writer, and I was explaining to him the scuffles I have within my brain to come up with something good and interesting to write about. He told me that I am trying way too hard, don’t sweat it, and take those everyday thoughts that I think so deeply on sometimes, and try and focus on those.  Even if they don’t produce reading material at that particular time, jot down the idea or thought and come back to it when ready.  He suggested that I may even keep some of them privately, that not everything has to be published.

So, as a new year begins, and with the advice of my friend,I intend to take those random thoughts and ideas I get so often and try and put them into words.   I’m sure most of the time it will come across as gibberish, or off the wall content, but as I have said in the past, it is my way of making sense of things.

To begin, I have been thinking a lot about assumptions.  Seems perfectly harmless, and most of the time, I think it is.  However, I believe we tend to assume way too much about things, some small, some much much bigger.  Assuming is something we tend to not think much about, I know I am guilty of it for sure.  For example, I assume my kids will be okay with hot dogs for dinner, and after they are all done and sitting on the table, one of my kids will always point out how much they DIDN’T want hot dogs for dinner.  Wrong assumption.  I know, seems pretty silly on the surface of it.  Let me explain a little further.

You’re stopped at an intersection where there is two-way traffic.  You look to your left and see a vehicle heading towards you with its turn signal on, hinting that it will be turning towards you at the intersection.  Instead of taking the few extra seconds to ensure the vehicle makes the turn, you ASSUME it will, and head out into the intersection.  All at once, the loud crunching sound followed by a tremendous and forceful impact.  Guess what?  You just got T-boned.  All due to an assumption.

Most importantly though, we tend to make way to many assumptions in our relationships with others.  I think all to often we tend to assume we know how others feel and/or what their needs are, instead of just taking a few seconds to ask.  We may see someone or know someone who seems (seems being the key word there) to be happy and outgoing, without a care in the world, only to later find out somehow that inside they were truly miserable or struggling with a particular issue for whatever reason.  On the other side of that, we may know or see people that seem (there it is again) miserable, or based on knowledge of things that may have happened to them or their experiences, we assume them to be unhappy or dealing with demons or bad things in their lives.  We treat them as such, thinking we know what they need or what is best for them, all for good reason, but finding out later it wasn’t necessary, and they were perfectly happy to begin with.

The point is, people have struggles, and people are happy.  They can even be both at the same time.  We should do our best to stop assuming we know what is best or what is needed, and instead focus on being a friend, or being a support, without making unnecessary assumptions.  We should let others live their lives how they need and want to, without letting our input and opinions get in the way.

Not sure what you think, but it Workes for me.

 

 

50 thoughts on “The Dangers of Assumptions

  1. Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger

    Reblogged this on Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger and commented:
    Sharing our thoughts, our ideas, our discoveries and our opinions in such a way, to not only demonstrate our analysis of life’s lessons, but also, to illustrate our comprehension of what we have learned, means we are sharing knowledge, our wisdom. And doing so in humility, enables the lesson to be received, and leaves the door open for others to share their thoughts and opinions, for learning is a communal endeavor. ‘The Dangers of Assumption’ by Kirby Workes, a long time The Neighborhood friend, is an open and honest essay, ultimately about the relationships surrounding him, but his willingness to share, may offer sound words, that work for us as well.

    Reply
  2. curepornaddiction

    I assumed you were heading in a different direction in your post. However, I loved the ending about thinking we know what someone needs; however, we just need to be a friend without assumptions. Great examples and post!

    Reply
  3. parrillaturi

    Good read. This. is my take on it. Those who assume on a constant basis, become prisoners of their own incarcerated way of thinking, which in turn, confines you, restricts, and/or muddles decision making capabilities. You act not accordingly, but in a “perhaps” I think so, could be, wow I didn’t see that coming, laissez-faire attitude.” To quote that great orator, and philosopher, ahem, me, Lol. I enjoyed reading this article. Oh, by the way, forget what I said about the great orator/philosopher. Blessings.

    Reply
    1. kworkes Post author

      Excellent point about how being prisoners of our own incarcerated way of thinking becomes a restriction. I appreciate you reading and appreciate your comments.

      Reply
  4. dk1best

    Thank you very much for your article. It is a valid point. I always thought that sincerity was the master key to be myself and others. But, it seems not to be always the case. Someone said intention doesn’t mean effect. I fully acknowledge of that.

    Reply
    1. kworkes Post author

      Thank you dk1best for your input. Sometimes, at least I believe, that sincerity gets in the way of the core issue of those things in which we deal with. It is good to be sincere, but in more of a supporting role. Just my two cents.

      Reply
      1. dk1best

        Thank you for your response. Your comment reminds me of a statement that there is no compassion without charity. And, I agree with your idea.

  5. Charles Lominec

    Sound advice. I especially like your turn signal example, because I’m one who doesn’t trust the turn signal and waits to see the vehicle actually start turning.

    Reply
    1. kworkes Post author

      Thank you Charles for reading and your comments. Me too, on the turn signal thing, that is why I chose it for an example, you just never know!

      Reply
  6. Cindy Peckham

    One of the greatest challenges we have is learning to let others make their mistakes, without our well intentioned interventions and advices, especially when we have made similar mistakes and learned and grew from them. It is loaded with assumptions that we know what is right for others, when really we can only ever know what is right for ourselves, right now.

    Reply
    1. kworkes Post author

      Perfectly said Cindy. This topic is something that has been weighing heavily on my mind and my heart here lately due to personal experiences. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Reply
  7. starmanjones

    I smile thinking more of the biblical donkey joke we become assume. benny hill has a nurlesque version of this one in “the german professor” I I will also point out the other side of the coin which is always asking not risking wherein we won’t risk a knowing look to mean what it does….and then ask exasperating the pooor person further.

    Reply
  8. robertmgoldstein

    I have a tendency on social networks to project a “tone of voice” onto the words in a post. I think that the primary difference between letter writing and blogging is immediacy and the use of conversational style. When I find myself strongly reacting to what I’ve read I book mark it and go back to it later. If I feel comfortable, I will send an email asking for clarification. I think the ability to let one’s self be wrong is crucial.

    Reply
    1. kworkes Post author

      It is crucial, I believe as well. It seems to be the only and best way to really grow, and find our purpose. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Reply
  9. pcoast

    I recently got involved in a debate online with a sibling who has far more formal education than I, and who is a professional writer. I was shocked when she immediately turned to ad hominem within the otherwise healthy debate. I called her out assertively, but without personal attack. Looking back on the situation, I wonder if she was having a bad day since she was behaving so uncharacteristically (for a pro writer). You’ve made a great point about assumptions. While I was frustrated with her assumptions regarding the issue we were debating, I wasn’t considering her as a person. Granted, she should be leaving personal issues out of debate, but I could have recognized her unusual styles of response and thought more about them. I tend to spend quite a bit of energy researching and making sure what I’m saying is true; I should spend a little more time assessing my fellow debaters. Thanks for the insight. -cP

    Reply
    1. kworkes Post author

      Thank you for your input, I really appreciate your insight as well. It is amazing what we can learn just from taking a step back once in a while.

      Reply
  10. melanievlogan

    Excellent post! I think assumptions are a problem we all are guilty of from time to time, just like reading too much into a situation. Good communication (being clear and active listening) can be a huge help to combat both.

    Reply
    1. kworkes Post author

      Agreed. I think it is better to be a support and/or a friend and allow others their choices without interference for us. Thank you for reading and your comment.

      Reply
  11. CELONA'S BLOG

    Thanks for the impact friend..
    You nailed this one real good and simple..
    I noticed assumptions has this close pairing with procrastination and it’s one big disease we the young generation are really suffering from..
    I would hope the older ones don’t stop talking and teaching.. use your vast field of knowledge and understand to making the few young ones around you pick up lessons that follows them a life time..not all would do your biddings but the very few that would, makes you a proud human, for you legacy continues..

    However there should also be available, a listening ear that also takes in necessary communal defaults that could be worked on too.
    My key contribution is that, we really need to concentrate on the younger ones to drop attitude like assumptions et all..
    If we really think it’s a problem for us.

    #Bless
    You post is rich in impactation!

    Reply
    1. kworkes Post author

      Thank you Celona, and I agree with you 100%. It isn’t only the older teaching the younger, but sometimes it is people teaching people. I have learned a tremendous amount from the younger generation as well. Thank you so much, I appreciate the comments for reading.

      Reply
  12. Tricia

    Good post and so true about false assumptions. Life would be a heck of a lot more pleasant if we all learned to just drop them, be and let others be. Tough to do though, I know I struggle with them all the time.

    Reply
    1. kworkes Post author

      Thank you Tricia. You are right, life would be so much easier to live and let live, but I’m afraid impossible. Thank you for you comments and for reading.

      Reply
  13. MillarDKits

    Thanks for the post! A few things that assumptions demonstrate about our existence. First, we are much more dependent on what you could call hearsay knowledge than many of us readily acknowledge. It is impossible to always confirm what others report to be true which brings me to my second point, that truth is not as certain as we’d like to think. Again, we are dependent on others for declarations of “truth”, often needing to trust their authority, evidence, and honesty. Even then, there are many example of such truths being disproved (not saying we need to be constantly skeptical, but that’s just the nature of our broadening social contract).
    Finally, to put it into terms of your intersection example, assumptions work when everyone has a common understanding of the rules of the road. When it comes to driving, this requires common licensing regulations to ensure those rules are learned, but in everyday life, this is where the common norms, values, and understandings of culture are vital.
    Gaps and doubts that arise in any of these areas then require communication and dialogue to resolve conflicts in our assumptions. This is where people like you and your readers make progressive contributions, so keep at it!

    Reply
    1. kworkes Post author

      Thank you for reading, and for adding your opinion on the subject. I especially appreciate the point you make about us being dependent on others for declarations of “truth”. Very well said.

      Reply
  14. mikeguillenblog

    The key phrase in this essay for me is, “instead of just taking a few seconds to ask.” The road to hell is paved with good intentions, but it’s the actions that count. Furthermore, assumptions are very dangerous, with almost no upside and potentially limitless downside. When it comes to relationship building, often, a ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
    Great post.

    Reply
    1. kworkes Post author

      Thank you for reading and for your comment. I like how you say assumptions are very dangerous. At the very least, high risk anyway. Thank you again.

      Reply
  15. Carl at FSJ

    “A belief makes a poor question?”
    I agree whole heartily that we make too many assumptions. When we believe we know why someone did something that hurt us so never ask why. If we did we might learn that our belief was wrong and work things out. Without asking we continue to be hurt and hurt the other person because they longer know what has happened either.

    Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!

    Reply
  16. kimrepresents

    I can identify with having blockages, and I think that extends to my sister too. We’ve created DFX together, writing and art, but it’s hard to turn out ideas sometimes. Especially when something’s blocking your motivation. I’ve learned that although it’s nice to impress people, sometimes you just have to do something because you enjoy doing it, and that’s enough.

    Reply
    1. kworkes Post author

      I agree, I used to worry about the audience and if it were entertaining enough or impressive, but am finding out it is more about my thoughts and what I need to do. Thank you for reading.

      Reply
  17. emrysong

    Nice post! I agree with everything you wrote. In addition, one of the things that irks me is the way we size people up when we first meet them and make assumptions about their personality. Once we make this initial evaluation it is often hard to break out of the mold that we have created for this person. They will always remain in a box until they do something that goes against your original assumption of them. That may force you to do a paradigm shift but that may take years or never happen at all. You don’t get to truly understand a person if you box them. People are always going to surprise you.

    Reply
    1. kworkes Post author

      Excellent point, I appreciate that very much. People that barely know me, or don’t know me at all, that only know of me, think they know everything there is to my life. Even close family members of mine stereotype me into this person that I am not at all, even though I am partially to blame for that due to what is on the surface, no one takes the time to TRULY get to know me. Thank you so much for your insight, it is much appreciated.

      Reply
  18. cmbrown3093

    These are my thoughts exactly! Sometimes I have to take a step back and remember that I was not raised the same way as my husband, and there is a lot of common ground that still needs to be found between us. We always manage to get through our arguments, but once we take an objective look and step back, we realize that our arguments are often due to lack of understanding of where the other person came from. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  19. Inthegazeoftheother

    I think assumptions come from a failure to see, a blindness derived from willed laziness. It takes effort to stop, breathe, listen and hear what someone says, word for word, look at her feature by feature, as if new. It is the human condition to reduce complex things to their simplest components and be content with that feat. Humans are complex beings and so reducing them to habits, types, tendencies and reflections of your needs or fears is the basis for those assumptions and misunderstandings. Learning truly what someone needs takes shutting down your own need.

    Reply

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