Making Assumptions About What Others Assume (About You)

When you are walking down the street and say, “Good Morning” to a stranger passing by, what do you assume that person assumes about you?

Even after all the work I have done to create healthy self-confidence for myself, I noticed this morning while on a walk that when I said “Good Morning” to a person I passed, I assumed that they assumed that I was of low intelligence because of my speech impediment.  Does my assumption, in fact, represent the truth of what the people I passed were thinking or anywhere close to it?  Upon reflection, I realized that I had absolutely no idea.

What inaccurate assumptions do you assume that others assume about you the moment they meet you?

Maybe we ought to say, “Hi! Glad to meet you.  I already assume that you are making assumptions about me and, just so you know, it is going to take you a while to prove that you are not.”

This is craziness!

Rather than enjoying the process of meeting someone, we often assume that we have to disprove assumptions that we assume the person we just met is assuming about us.

(This is lots of assuming and the other person has barely said anything yet!)

Or we could just state flat out what we assume the person we just met is thinking.  In my case, I could say, “Hi, I’m Jason! It’s awesome to meet you.  And by the way, I already assume that you assume that I’m of very low intelligence because of the sound of my voice.  Want to be friends?”  (This approach might be slightly awkward.)

If we are going to naturally make assumptions about what people we are just meeting think of us, why not replace our disempowering assumptions with empowering ones?

For example, Daniel instantly assumes that whenever he meets someone, they are making the assumption that he is a goof-off and not professional.  He could work to become fully conscious of this assumption and then consciously tell himself when he meets people that they instantly admire him, want to be his friend, and see him as a professional.  Of course, Daniel is still making assumptions, but now the assumptions that he is making work in his favor.

What would it be like to assume that when people meet us, they instantly see someone they like, someone they admire, and someone they want to be friends with?

Game of the Day

If you find yourself assuming that people you just have met are making inaccurate or negative assumptions about you:

  1. Practice becoming fully conscious of these assumptions.
  2. Practice replacing these limiting assumptions with positive assumptions.

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

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Instead of Dropping Hints and Being Frustrated

If you text message one of your friends, “Have a nice day,” do you expect a response?  Furthermore, do you feel frustrated if your friend doesn’t respond in an hour, in six hours, in a day?

I have gotten frustrated over circumstances like this more often than I care to admit.

Then when I finally stepped back to think about it, I realized that aside from the fact that my friend might have not seen my text, I hadn’t even requested a response.  I just made an encouraging statement, sent a gift of sorts and expected my friend to decipher that I wanted a response.  I had dropped a hint and after that chose to spend time longing for a desired result.

Do you ever drop hints and become frustrated when your friends or family fail to decode your hints?

Dropping hints would be a strange and socially awkward practice for when one is standing at the front of a movie theater ticket line, so we simply state the movie that we want to see and thereby get a ticket.  We don’t give the ticket clerk a twenty-minute story that kind of hints that we may kind of want to see a movie and kind of halfway alludes to the movie we want to see.  We would never dream of doing this and the people behind us in the ticket line would never dream of letting us. We simply state what movie we want to watch, say please, hand over some cash, and the clerk prints us a ticket. The whole transaction takes under twenty seconds and works perfectly!

Why in our personal lives do we so often song and dance around what we really want?

Is it some big secret that we are human beings and have needs and wants?  Are we scared of getting what we really desire?  Are we afraid if we ask for what we want and need that people may tell us “NO”?  Do we thrive on being frustrated with people for not reading our minds?

Referring back to my initial example, it would be much more effective and kinder to the other person to send a text message saying, “I really would enjoy hearing from you today, please text me when you have a chance.”

Over the past year, I’ve gradually become more aware of how often I drop hints instead of requesting what I really want.

I’ve noticed that instead of producing a healthy friendship or relationship interaction, dropping hints tends to produce a “Longingship” interaction. (I wouldn’t try using “Longingship” in a game of Scrabble because I just made it up.)

Instead of dropping hints, let’s try gently laying down requests of what we really want.

Gently laying down requests takes practice, self-confidence and courage.  This method of politely asking for what we truly want can be a pathway to a whole new level of freedom in all of our relationships.

Game of the Day 

What types of hints do you tend to drop?

With whom do you tend to drop them?

What would it look like to gently lay down requests in these interactions?

 

Beyond “What’s Happening?”— New Questions to Create Richer Conversations

                                    

If you had asked me “What’s happening?” or “What’s up?” or “What’s new?” at about 11:30 last night, I would have told you a sad little tale about parking my car in a bike lane which I didn’t notice, and having a sizable parking ticket when I returned to my car. I would have also told you about how I didn’t think the bike lane was clearly marked, but that I wasn’t going to appeal the ticket because it would be a lengthy process.  In addition, you would have had the opportunity to hear about how frustrated I was by the whole experience.

From there, the conversation could have progressed into swapping other frustrating parking ticket stories, before branching into talking about our general frustrations with life.

On the other hand, if at 11:30 last night, you had asked me, “What was the most amazing thing that happened in your day,” our conversation would have been different.  I would have answered excitedly by telling you about a birthday party I went to with my good friends Patricio and Michael.  I would have told you about our drive up into the mountains north of San Diego, where our gracious host lived high up with a pool right on the edge of a ridge.  As I was floating in the pool, I could gaze out and see orchards and gorgeous misty mountains in the distance.  Then after swimming and an amazing dinner, I would tell you of going for a walk to see a majestic avocado grove on the side of this mountain.

From there, you might well start telling me about the amazing places that you had been.  Our conversation might then naturally drift towards wonderful experiences we had enjoyed and amazing people we knew.

As you can see at 11:30 last night, based on the question asked, we would have had two completely different conversations.

When we ask each “What’s Happening?” or “What’s up?” or “What’s new?” or some variation there of, I’ve noticed that it is human nature to start talking about what is wrong with life.

Fortunately, we have the opportunity to begin our conversations with richer questions that immediately place both speaker and listener in a positive frame of mind.  There are many variations of richer questions.  I’ll list just a few examples:

 “What is a great thing that happened in your week?”

“What are you most excited about today?”

“What do you love about your life?”

 “How have you felt strong this week?”

These questions naturally turn us towards having conversations in which we talk about our strengths and the things that make us happy.  These are highly enjoyable conversations to have!

Game of the Day

Today, begin three conversations with a richer question than you usually use to begin conversations.  Choose a question from the above examples or invent your own.