Social Question

prolificus's avatar

How have assumptions played a role in the formation and development of your relationships with others?

Asked by prolificus (6583points) April 8th, 2010

No, I’m not asking because of the interaction I experienced in a previous thread. So, please don’t assume (ha ha) I’m speaking about you (whoever you are).

This question pertains to any type of relationship—significant or otherwise, short-term or long-term. Assumptions come in all shapes and sizes. Some are never discussed, but end up festering and affecting throughout the course of the relationship. Although, as the expression goes, to assume is to make an ass out of you and me, some of us continue to make unconfirmed speculations, theories, and conclusions about others without validating our perceptions with the ones we have perceived.

Whatever role (if any) assumptions have played in the relationship formation and/or development process, how did it affect the person making the assumption and the person being assumed? Once the assumption (if it existed) was confirmed or denied, how did the realization change perceptions and/or affect the nature of the relationship?

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15 Answers

wonderingwhy's avatar

Just in general, I tend to make a lot of basic assumptions – it makes many things easier. Having done so for a very long time has been instrumental in teaching me the difference between making an assumption and acting on it, particularly where it concerns others. I have become fairly self-aware of my assumptions and tend to catch myself before I let them become the basis for a firm belief or a course of action. That in turn has gone a long way in being able to play well with others in all types of interaction.

emergence's avatar

I think assumptions/perceptions have their place, and are healthy when they are fluid and dynamic and adjust as you get to know someone. It is as important to both find meaning in what you perceive as well as to not blind yourself with rigid stereotypical assumptions, IMO.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Ah, assumptions. They’ve usually made more of an ass of me than “you”.
Example: I thought an exclusive sexual relationship where a hetero couple calls themselves bf and gf meant you didn’t have to worry about your partner sex texting and sharing pics/webcam/ and provactive e-mails back and forth with others. I also assumed it would rule out lap dances and blowjob/handjobs from strippers. Wrong.

phillis's avatar

Assumptions suck because, if you’re wrong, you can’t fully experience the very things that make life worth living. My grandmother thinks she knows me, but she has absolutely no clue who I really am. It’s not just about me, either. She’s so thoroughly convinced in her judgements of everything around her that it makes you not even want to share anything of substance with her. She forces you to be shallow.

Depending on how mental you are, your perceptions can be skewed completely off the page of reality. Not even in the same hemisphere. The problem is, the most mental people don’t realize they are the one who is wrong, so they don’t see they have any problem at all. So it never gets fixed and we have a bunch of mentals running around all over the place spewing crap that everybody else slips and falls on.

marinelife's avatar

Human beings make assumptions constantly. Especially with regard to relationships. That is why good communications is key to maintaining good relationships—to tear down the walls of assumptions.

mollypop51797's avatar

Assumption are a human thing. we all do it, but we need to keep them to ourselves and not let them affect others. @marinelife @phillis @emergence I agree, we should all make sure that the many assumptions made about us etc. shouldn’t change what we believe in, or follow, or do. And yes, @Neizvestnaya to assume make more of an ass out of me than you, because when we are wrong, we make asses out of ourselves for the crappy assumption that even got us into this whole mess.

SeventhSense's avatar

I think it’s the nature of the brain to immediately try to classify a thing as friend or foe but it’s the nature of the intellect to challenge that natural inclination.
On a lighter note, it’s a good thing you defined assumption and perception or we’d be lost. ~

prolificus's avatar

@SeventhSense – I’m checking with you… Is the lighter note of yours meant to be sarcastic or something else?

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes comic relief.
Note the tilde~

phillis's avatar

@mollypop51797 Agreed. It’s usually a good idea to consider what someone confronts you with when they assume, but to fall apart over it is pretty pointless. You give up your whole identity when you do that, and put it in the hands of a human being who makes mistakes all the time. It isn’t a smart idea.

prolificus's avatar

@SeventhSense – but but I know most people would know the meaning of those terms. I have fun linking to stuff. Pout pout.

SeventhSense's avatar

Well in that case.
Captain Obvious

wundayatta's avatar

Whenever my wife (or almost anyone else I have a relationship with) is upset, I generally assume it was something I did. It would freak me out and I would badger her to tell me what was going on and how I could fix it. I was always worried that the next time she was upset, I’d be out the door. It was incredibly anxiety provoking.

Over the last couple of years, via therapy, I’ve been learning that things aren’t always my fault. Even—I think—if it is me she is angry with. She still wants to be held and allowed to cry without being pestered for an explanation.

So now I let her be, still worrying inside. Sometimes she tells me what is going on, and sometimes not. I guess I’m learning to wait for disaster to happen, not assume it is going to happen and get all worried about it. Not easy for me to do. I have this desire to make it happen, so I can get it over with. I hate waiting for the axe to fall. Even if there is no axe whatsoever, though, it seems like it would be easier to chop my own head off.

Anyway, my assumptions create much anxiety for me. Stupid, I know. Probably sounds inconceivable to most guys. It’s weird, because generally I am one of the best predictors of anyone around. But when it comes to myself, I always assume the worst case scenario.

I believe I should be loved and lovable and people who love me should tolerate a lot of mistakes from me. I know that makes sense. I’m a good person. But the fear is always there, anyway. I’m sure everything will end up bad, as far as relationships are concerned. I feel like I’ll always blow it. It’s pretty sad. Very sad. Not a good thought at all. I’m going now. I don’t want to encourage my own sickness.

PacificToast's avatar

A friend of mine and I used to assume all sorts of views of each other. Such as when she found out I supported Capital Punishment. We’ve learned to accept each others’ opinions and still have wonderful times with each other.

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