When you clicked to read this post, based on the title, what did you assume it would be about? Did the title make you want to read it, or not so much? Do people make too many assumptions about you on a regular basis? Do you make too many assumptions about others or situations you’re unfamiliar with? Actually, I’m pretty sure we all do.
Assumptions are things we believe to be true, or accept as true, based on our experiences or beliefs, not necessarily based on proof. Sometimes we are right. Sometimes we are wrong. Really wrong.
When I was 11 or 12, like most kids around that age, I had a growth spurt. By sixth grade, I stood a half foot taller than both my older sisters. Suddenly, in my family anyway, I was tall. One Sunday after church, some guy introduced himself to my family and when he turned to me, he asked something along the lines of, how in the world is it possible you’re the youngest (of the girls) when you’re the tallest?
What a dumb thing to ask, right? I never forgot that comment, which probably indicates how it made an already self-conscious preteen girl feel. Suddenly, I didn’t feel tall, I felt too tall. Despite her best efforts, my mother was unsuccessful at convincing me that taller was okay, maybe even better. The damage from that seemingly innocent assumption and comment (among other things) was done.
As many of you know, I live in Wisconsin.
What do you assume about me from that tidbit of info?
Packer fan? Nope. Cheese head? Are you kidding me? (Though I do like cheese, just not on my head). Vikings all the way (and WTF happened in that playoff game with Philadelphia?) Brewers fan then? Nope. The Twins are the team for me. Beer drinker? Nope. I prefer an occasional glass of wine. Trump supporter? When Hell freezes over. Republican? Nope. Democrat and proud of it.
Of course, we all make assumptions many times, every single day. We assume the weather channel is, at least sort of likely, to get the forecast right. When it snows, we assume we might need an extra layer or that it’s likely we’ll need to shovel later on. At work, we assume co-workers will show up and do their jobs (hopefully). We assume our bus drivers, doctors, nurses, dentists, teachers and fill in the blank with any other profession, are well trained, or at least trained.
Assumptions, for the most part, are common-sense good calls. Until they’re not.
Take politics, for example. If you’re a Democrat, do you assume all Republicans are the same? And vice versa. If you’re a Republican, do you figure all Dems to be bleeding-heart liberals in favor of all things big government and higher taxes to pay for them?
If you’re a person of color, do you assume all Caucasians are alike? If you’re white, do you assume certain things to be true about all African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians or any other non-white block of people? Do you assume various things based solely on religious affiliation or lack thereof?
Again, if we’re honest, we all make certain assumptions about others who are not like us. Some of this is normal and okay. Until it’s not.
And then there are those assumptions so often made about breast cancer.
Early stage. Caught it early. All will be fine then. Just a bump in the road. At least you got the “good” cancer. You must love pink. Surely you can’t wait to participate in one of those walks. Cancer must’ve taught you a lot. And let’s not forget this clunker assumption – it must be kinda nice to get a free boob job out of the deal. Sigh…
Late stage diagnosis? Oh dear, you’ll be a goner soon – my aunt’s, neighbor’s cousin only lasted six months. You must’ve done something wrong for that to happen. Wait, you still have hair. You don’t even look sick. I’m sure you can still beat this. Tell me again when you’ll be done with treatment…
And so many assumptions are based on physical appearance or circumstances.
You’re a woman, so you can’t or shouldn’t do that. You’re overweight; you must eat all day long and you probably never exercise. Ever. You’ve been diagnosed with depression – but seriously, if only you tried hard enough, you could snap out of it. You’re poor; you gotta be lazy and looking for handouts. Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps.
Grief assumptions abound as well.
You must find comfort knowing your dear one’s in a better place. It was meant to be. He didn’t suffer. He was old, so it was his time. You must be over it by now.
Yes, assumptions abound.
Until they’re not.
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What’s an assumption often made about you, and how does hearing it, or knowing others think it, make you feel?
What’s an assumption you’ve made that turned out to be wrong?