Incorrect Assumptions

I realized recently that the people in my life who think I spend a lot of time correcting them or others are the same people who frequently make incorrect assumptions about plenty of things.  Sometimes the incorrect assumptions are made about details pertaining to logistics, situations, or decisions being made.  Other times they are about my intentions, what I am thinking, what I am trying to say, how I will react to things, and so on.  Very few things bother me more than being completely misunderstood, having my intentions incorrectly being perceived as negative when they are not, and being accused of things I am not doing.

It’s very frustrating trying to have a conversation with someone who constantly interrupts me in order to respond defensively because they THINK they know what I am going to say and that it will be something negative, especially when I am not ever given the chance to say what I had intended.  Perhaps they think I am trying to tell them they won’t be able to do something they want to do, or sometimes they are assuming there is some hidden negative implication like I am trying to tell them they shouldn’t be doing something.  Often it is perceived that I am trying to criticize someone or control a particular situation when that is not my intent at all.  Not even close.  It is equally as frustrating to have a conversation with someone who responds to most of what I say with assumptions that are very incorrect, rather than ask questions and listen to all of what is being said before jumping in with the assumptions.  That means I spend a chunk of my end of the conversation correcting the misinformation they created and believe to be true.

Unfortunately, too many people listen to others with whatever filter they have formulated in their head based on their perception of the person or situation, and they hear only what they want to hear and see what they want to see that backs up their opinion or preconceived notion, which just adds to that incorrect perspective.  It’s very hard to undo that, especially if that person is not open-minded and objects to hearing anything that will negate their viewpoint.

Ironically, I don’t like having to correct people, but the perception is that I do because it becomes necessary when people are making such incorrect assumptions so frequently.  So it has become one more incorrect assumption that all I want to do is correct people.  When it comes to my intentions that are being questioned though, I am going to correct someone every time.

I’ve come to REALLY appreciate the people in my life who respect me enough to listen when I talk and take what I am saying or asking at face value without adding their own interpretation of what I might be implying, when in fact, I am often not implying anything at all.  Some people just like to find negatives where there aren’t any, and I don’t enjoy being around those people very much.  I’d rather surround myself with people who actually bother to hear what I have to say without putting words in my mouth or thoughts in my head that they will then hold against me … forever.  That leads to a lot less stress, drama, negativity, misunderstandings, misinformation, and necessary corrections.  Life is a whole lot easier when we give people the benefit of the doubt and are willing to hear each other out.

Perception Being Reality

perspective 2It’s amazing how much stress and conflict in my life actually stems from someone’s perception being different from reality.  Most of the time, it is someone’s intentions that are perceived incorrectly, and usually it is assumed the intentions are far worse than what they really were.  For example, a suggestion I make will get interpreted as me trying to control things or have things my way, when in reality I am just trying to be helpful.  I catch myself making assumptions about intentions too sometimes, but it is usually because the other person has established a pattern of behavior demonstrating they can’t be trusted, make promises they have no intention of keeping, or other not so great behaviors.

It’s very easy to assume the worst and not give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Therefore, it is important to act in such a way that demonstrates that one can be trusted and has integrity and good intentions.  Trust and respect are both qualities that are easy to lose and difficult to regain, and we need to keep that in mind both with our own behavior and being willing to allow others to redeem themselves.  Not being so quick to judge their intentions is important too.

Sometimes two people can perceive the same situation differently and both be correct … or perhaps neither be correct.   Continue reading

Manipulation

I’m a pretty straight-forward person who doesn’t like to play games or feel like someone is playing games with me.  I also grew up with a step-mother who was a champion manipulator, which significantly affected my brothers’ and my relationship with our dad, other family members, and each other.  Therefore, I have no patience for people who like to manipulate.  So perhaps you can imagine how upset I get when I find out that not only does my husband think it’s necessary to find ways to manipulate myself and others, but he is also teaching our kids this by example and by involving them in the process.  I would say it’s one of the top three things that infuriate me because it’s so fundamentally wrong, yet it still happens on a regular basis.

The thing that bothers me the most is that he is reinforcing to the kids the notion that it is more important to get what you want at any cost, regardless of how many lies you have to tell or how deceitful you need to be.  It undermines many of the things I am trying to teach them about what it means to be a good person with integrity and good character. Continue reading

Guys and Girls Being Friends

This is a topic that has bothered me for many years now …. the notion that men and women can’t be friends unless at least one of them is attracted to the other romantically and/or physically.  This is what some people I know believe to be true. This might be the case for some people, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily true for everyone.  In addition, it seems like there is often an automatic assumption when people of the opposite sex (assuming we are talking about heterosexuals) are seen together that they must somehow be involved in a relationship, legitimate or not, rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are friends or relatives.  I’m sure this happens though as well when two people of the same gender who are known to be gay or lesbian are seen together.

I grew up surrounded by boys and have always had plenty of guy friends, some of whom I have been more than friends with at some point.  Others I did have a little crush on or I knew they liked me, but it remained a friendship in spite of the fact that one of us was interested in something more with the other person.  I have also had numerous other guy friends over the years with whom I only wanted to be friends and vice versa.  The problem is that I keep having to explain that we’re just friends, especially if it is someone I have remained friends with after being in a relationship with them previously.  I should be able to say that we’re friends, period, and not have to say “just friends”.  I really wish that some people wouldn’t have that automatic suspicion just because we’re of the opposite sex. Continue reading

Trust

trustThis is so very true.  And trust is such a huge component to any healthy relationship, whether it’s a family member, friend, or companion.  Lack of trust leads to suspicion of any number of things such as questioning someone’s loyalty, commitment, faithfulness, intentions, motivations, actions, and so on.  It can really drive a wedge between two people.

Some people are naturally suspicious and question the other person’s actions either because of their own prior experiences, beliefs, or insecurities.  For example, my husband does not believe that a guy and a girl can be friends without one or both of them being physically attracted to the other.  Even though I wasn’t giving him a reason to be suspicious, he automatically assumed there might be something going on between a particular guy friend of mine and me or at least that the interest was there, especially because it was someone I had a relationship with back in high school.  I understand the natural suspicion because of the history, but it never mattered what I said or did, we were assumed guilty and he would snoop through emails waiting and hoping to gather some information to catch us in the act of something that was never going to happen. He would always claim that it wasn’t me he didn’t trust but my friend, which I never believed.  I don’t think he ever really trusted me from the get-go because of whatever insecurities he had.  He has been suspicious of EVERY guy friend I have ever had whether I had a previous relationship with them or not.   So not only did the lack of trust itself play a major role in the demise of our relationship (technically we’re still married because of logistics but haven’t functioned like a married couple in many years), but all of his negative behaviors became worse when he was suspicious, which definitely pushed me away.

It’s funny though that when I was filling him in on a situation that our daughter was dealing with pertaining to another person, he was quick to say, “It’s like he doesn’t think a guy and a girl can be just friends,” as if anyone who thought otherwise was a moron.  So I don’t know if his views have changed or whether he sees things one way when it pertains to him and another when it doesn’t.  I just know that I don’t trust that he is not going to snoop through my things even at this point, and he probably still doesn’t trust me not because of anything I did or didn’t do.

Even in non-companion relationships, once a person has established a pattern of not being trusted, it is easy for someone else to make assumptions about that person that are negative.  My sons tend to sneak things like books out of another’s room, candy, food, time on the computer or other electronics, etc.  So when I hear the basement door open slowly, I am often quick to assume someone is trying to sneak computer time down there.  Or if I hear the pantry door open or see my one son disappear quickly up the stairs, I am quick to assume that he probably just snuck some food or a book from his brother or maybe has his DS tucked away in his bedroom when he shouldn’t, and then I react accordingly.  I am often right, but sometimes am wrong.  If the pattern of behavior hadn’t been established though, I wouldn’t make those assumptions.  I am not the only one in my immediate family who makes these assumptions either, as the rest of the family has seen the same patterns.  So it’s important to act in a way that is trustworthy if you want people to trust you, especially since some people naturally don’t want to trust others to begin with even without factoring in the other person’s behavior.  It’s also important to not be so quick to jump to conclusions and make assumptions, as I addressed in my last post.

If you have any thoughts to share on this topic, please feel free to click on “Leave a Comment” below the title to this post.  You can easily read any or all previous posts by clicking on the “Home” page tab and scrolling through the topics, or you can search by clicking on a category or tag word or by using the search box to the left.