It is normal for humans to want to get ahead of situations, especially when we feel threatened or hard done by. We try to understand the circumstances that might have led up to the situation, and possibly find someone to blame for it. However, in the absence of any concrete evidence, we sometimes make assumptions that may affect our relationships, and (or) leave us in a very bad place.
- Making assumptions about the other person’s finances can create unwarranted distrust. Sometimes, when we find ourselves in need of money, we look up to certain individuals for help. If they’re good friend or family, we try to be as optimistic as possible. What is not normal, however, is when we start to calculate someone else’s money for them. Sometimes, this act comes to us quite naturally, because we have a certain familiarity with them. But, it is uncalled-for, and certainly unfair to the other person.
For one, we may not know every responsibility that the person has, and even if we did, it is still presumptuous to spend their money for them—even if mentally. And they may not be in a position to help us at that particular moment. If we have already made assumptions about their finances, we will not be able to control the negative emotions that will course through us.
- Just like money, time also is a limited resource. In this case we consider how easy, albeit dangerous, it is to make assumptions about how another person spends their time. When we’re friends with someone, we expect that they give us considerable attention. And when they fall short of this, we try to find out what the problem is. There’s nothing bad about that—if we do it the right way. But, assumptions are made without any evidence or probable cause, and therefore may be wrong. It can push us to make irrational decisions sometimes.
Whenever we’re not sure what’s taking up another person’s time, it is only expected that we arrive at the reason without having any negative presupposition. Granted, there may be existing mistrust in a relationship. Even then, I still don’t think making assumptions is the best way to go about it, especially when it affects our mental health.
- Because friendship is a very special thing, it should be cherished and protected. It is not unusual to find people who are envious of what you have. These kind of people may try to cause divisiveness between you and your friend. Rumours may spring up from nowhere regarding what your friend may or may not have done. You might feel you have something to lead you on here, but it is easy to start making assumptions based on baseless rumours. You suddenly find yourself connecting vague dots. This is obviously a trap that can cause unnecessary friction in a relationship.
- There is one thing that remains personal, even in the most intimate friendship: our thoughts. They remain personal as long as they’re not shared with the other person. People can think about anything, and we can’t possibly know for sure what it is they’re thinking about. Even when you’re able to make a good guess, it is still dangerous to assume that what you think they’re thinking is what they’re actually thinking; especially if you’re planning to do something about it. It is expected that if you’re close to a person, then you’d be able to ask them about whatever is in their mind. In some cases, though, it will take tactfulness to be able to extract information. But, that’s still the best option.
Even trained psychologist can be wrong when deciphering the contents of another person’s thought. You may think that you know someone well enough to know their thoughts, but you risk causing strife if you act based on that single notion.
Making assumptions is a normal part of our everyday lives. Sometimes even, it may be very helpful—if we employ enough empathy and understanding. However, in relationship matters, assumption-making tends to repress communication. And we know that without communication, a relationship is as good as failed. This thought is well encapsulated by Miguel Ruiz, who wrote: “If others tell us something we make assumptions, and if they don’t tell us something we make assumptions to fulfill our need to know and to replace the need to communicate. Even if we hear something and we don’t understand we make assumptions about what it means and then believe the assumptions. We make all sorts of assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions”.
It is really not difficult to see how dangerous assumptions can be in a relationship. Henry Winkler was right when he said that, “asumptions are the termites of relationships”.