It’s easy to assume things about people. It’s easy to assume how they will act, behave, and even think. It’s easy to assume if they are nice or a mean, or make assumptions about other personality traits of theirs. It’s easy to assume how they are when you are not around, or what types of things they like or find interest in. And often this is all done by just looking at them briefly.
Often times these assumptions are not that positive. You think you know someone will drop the ball, or will not live up to expectations. Or you think someone is a jerk before you ever exchange words. Why is that?
Perhaps it’s our own self worth coming out and reflecting on others. Our own internal frustrations and judgements about ourselves reflecting back at us. Though we may think it is someone else creating it, it may be our own perception of qualities of ourselves, masking themselves as the qualities of others.
It doesn’t really matter what it is, and if any of what I just said holds any water. The important thing, is that assuming things about others shortchanges everybody. It short changes the abilities of someone else, and it shortchanges potential relationships you can have with people that you too quickly make assumptions about.
Just as Elliott says, people have a way of putting others into boxes. Essentially putting people into categories that they have created in their mind, to create identities for people they do not know.
Maybe it’s our way of dealing with the unknown. When you don’t know something you try and explain it as a means of dealing with it.
If you have never seen a person signing in the middle of the street, and suddenly someone is singing in the middle of a busy street, you might make assumptions about them. Perhaps it makes you uncomfortable, and you don’t know why someone would do such a thing, so you categorize them as crazy. Even though there is nothing to support that, except for your unfamiliarity with his or her current actions.
There is not enough time to meet and speak with everyone on this earth, so I think we naturally want to make assumptions about people simply by the way they look, and perhaps by what comes out of their mouth. In the flash of a few seconds we make overarching assumptions about peoples intelligence, background, occupation, income and more. I don’t think everyone does this, but I think more people do this than they are willing to admit, I’m guilty.
Maybe our fear of what others think of us is constantly creating this judgmental dialogue in our mind that quickly pushes people in boxes based on our own insecurities. Smart..dumb…friendly…jerk and so on.
Perhaps it’s human nature, but I don’t believe so. I think there are people you are absent from these assumptions and judgements, and simply acknowledge things for what they are, and nothing more. They observe, but they do not think. They may see someone fall of their bicycle, and just observe it for what it is. Not quickly create thoughts like this person is unskilled, clumsy, or a loser. They simply notice the event and possibly see if they can help.
Situations come up all day that invite our thoughts, assumptions, and judgements, and it’s easy to humor those inclinations. But I ask you to not give in, not take the easy road, and assume you know everyone so well, because you don’t. Many of us have been surprised by people that we assumed certain things about, and they acted or reacted totally different than we would have assumed. So take the high road, and don’t put people in these boxes that they don’t want to be in.