I thought this post would be perfect to commemorate the new year and starting from blank slates.
How do you take it when others assume something–anything–about you?
This can happen everywhere–at school, work, with your significant other, with your relatives, everywhere!
There’s even a term in psychology that relates to how misguided assumptions can be–attribution bias. It basically represents what people “credit” for what happens to them. There are many types of attribution biases; the first (of two) I’d like to cover is called self-serving bias. It states that when a person does something wrong, they credit outside forces, but when they do something right, they credit themselves.
There’s another type of attribution bias that defines what you might think of as the inverse of that relationship–the fundamental attribution error. This one refers to what you credit for someone else’s performance; you’d underestimate internal factors while overestimating outside factors. So if a classmate aces an exam, this type of bias might lead you to (erroneously) think that perhaps they aced it because they must have cheated, and not because they studied very hard.
You can see from this how powerful assumptions are, which sometimes is a pity because they’re not even based on reality; they’re based on something that was imagined for whatever reason.
Say your neighbor leaves his trash bins so close to your driveway that they’re almost touching it, but your car still go through, meaning it’s not that big of a deal.
Do you imagine he did so on purpose to piss you off or that perhaps it was too dark when he took them out and he couldn’t very well see where he was putting his bins?
If assumptions led someone to think the better of a situation (perhaps your neighbor simply couldn’t see that his bins were almost touching your driveway), they wouldn’t be a problem!!
But I’d say most times they lead others to conjure up the worst ideas, and this ends up creating conflict when there shouldn’t have been any.
What If Someone Assumes Something Wrong About You?
If, after assuming something bad about you, someone lets you explain how it’s false, treasure that person because they’re more interested in you than in their pride.
For example, a lack of communication in relationships sometimes lets people imagine things that don’t have anything to do with reality. Therefore, it’s key that couples, parents, siblings, friends, relatives, etc. clear the air and move on as soon as possible.
However, if someone uses their negative assumption about you for their gain or you don’t have room to explain your side (i.e., they didn’t care to let you explain your side), then simply move on and realize you’re better off because of it–you’re better off away from them.
Once you move on you get a chance to reinvent yourself without people like THAT by your side, you’ll be able to do more than you thought possible!
I’ve been guilty of assuming the worst, but rightly so. In fact, I’ve ended two friendships because of it. They were justified “breakups” and I can honestly say they weren’t really doing my life any good.
I’ve also been on the other side and have had people assume something bad about me. As wrong as they were in both their mistaken belief and their not giving me “room” to explain myself, today I can admit that I am better because of it and without them in my life; I’ve moved on.
Toxicity isn’t beneficial to you.
The world doesn’t revolve around you!
Don’t choose to see the bad in things; don’t make something/everything about you (and then make it negative) when it may not be!
With all the relatively bad things going on in the world, you’re doing yourself a HUGE disservice adding to that. So what if someone thinks X about you? Let ’em!
Afterwards, either try to change their mind somehow.. or MOVE ON: The world doesn’t revolve around you!!The world doesn't revolve around you! Click To Tweet
Next time you’re about to make a (potentially) erroneous assumption to serve your needs: Stop and think before you do. And preferably don’t–especially if it involves spreading that assumption.
And if someone wrongfully assumed something bad about you and didn’t bother to let you explain your side, take that as a sign that you’re better off without them and their drama.
How do YOU deal with gossip about you?