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How to Stop Making Assumptions Part 2

How To’s designed to get you unstuck and pull you into alignment with your highest self.

Welcome back!

Last week we went into assumptions about self and how they show up as limiting beliefs, causing our experience to reflect those beliefs.

Today, we’re going to discuss what assumptions about other people look like, what happens when we make them (specifically in our close relationships), and which habits to adopt instead to cultivate understanding and ease.

Spotting Assumptions

Our brains are all about saving us time, so they love to make assumptions!

And the short and sweet of it is that we make them based on previous experiences.

While well-intentioned, assumptions are damaging to our relationships as they cause distrust and misunderstanding.

This is true when it comes to positive AND negative assumptions; BOTH of them can actually be harmful.

Negative Assumptions

When we assume something negative, there are repercussions – our loved ones feel put into a box, labeled, accused, etc.

For example, if we’ve had the experience of repeatedly being judged, we often cut to the chase by assuming our friends, family members (and the mailman, and that one cashier at the grocery store, and that coworker who makes snarky comments…), and/or partners are judging us, too.

This kind of negative assumption often causes defensiveness in our loved one and a rift in the connection.

It can also lead to an emotional shutdown in the other person if they feel as if they’re not being heard.

Positive Assumptions

As great as it sounds to assume positive things about others, it can also lead to turbulence in a relationship.

What we’re basically doing here is idealizing the other person.

Sometimes we get so excited about someone, we fill in all the gaps we don’t know with what we WANT to see.

The danger here is that these variables are still unknown, so filling them in ourselves can lead to a false sense of security.

It’s a slap in the face to find out later that someone isn’t who you thought they were!

Assumptions Versus Expectations

Although these two words are easily confused, they are very different in a connected relationship.

Assumptions are always destructive to some extent.

On the other hand, expectations are actually critical to a relationship in the right context.

By “the right context,” I’m talking about having an open conversation that begins with explaining what each party expects, leads to collaboration if need be to adjust some things, and ends in full agreement by both people.

Healthy expectations help us to feel safe and understood.

Think about it – if you start a new job, they probably expect you to do your job and you probably expect them to pay you. And this is just the bare minimum of the agreement!

The foundation of trust is each person knowing what to expect from the relationship.

As long as there’s collaboration and agreement, expectations can actually help you build a pretty badass partnership!

What to Do When You Catch Yourself Making Assumptions

Okay, so you’ve had a conversation about expectations which has set you up for success.

But what happens when those sneaky little assumption bastards sneak back in?

Ask questions!

A question is the antithesis of an assumption.

So if you find yourself filling in gaps when you’re not one hundred percent sure of something, put your curiosity hat on and see what you can discover.

In fact, asking questions eliminates the need for assumptions altogether as long as you trust the other person!

We can’t address how to move forward with a situation or conflict until we can fully see what led us here.

Our perceptions are our realities, so it’s crucial to both accurately depict our own perception and to work on understanding someone else’s.

If you can eradicate assumptions from your relationships, you will be able to cultivate immense trust, closeness, connection, safety, belonging, and understanding.

That’s a lotta bang for your buck!

Takeaways:

  • Assumptions are bad news bears, even when they’re positive.
  • Expectations are helpful and even necessary in most close relationships as long as there’s collaboration and agreement on both sides.
  • If you find yourself making assumptions, stop them in their tracks by asking questions about the other person’s perception and experience so you can both have the safety and belonging you deserve!

Sending you good communication vibes this week!

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