Deb Toering is a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor (BCPCC) in private practice at Trinity Family Counseling Center. In addition to working with a wide range of client populations and presenting issues, Deb is also an engaging public speaker. She has spoken in front of various groups across a range of topics including marriage, bullying, ADHD/ADD, and teen leadership.
We are all guilty of making assumptions. Judgments are made based on appearances, what others eat, what they drive, their clothing and the houses they live in. We even assume we know what someone else is thinking. The list goes on and on.
A dinner missed leads to a fight and hurt feelings because you assumed the latecomer didn’t care. Really, he was caught in traffic and his phone died. A friend’s emotional distance could be assumed as lack of desire to pursue the friendship when really she is struggling with personal issues. Being cut off in a conversation can feel similar to being cut off in traffic. You feel disrespected, misunderstood. You get angry. You may say things you regret. The other person responds negatively. The whole mess could have been avoided had you just been given the courtesy to finish your thought.
In conversations, the best way to avoid assumptions is to practice listening; not easy for many of us who would rather be talking. To ask yourself, “what must life be like for the other?” forces us to listen more carefully; ask questions with the intent to understand more clearly. Some people need time to process their feelings and thoughts. It feels disrespectful not to be given that time. Oh to be heard and understood without judgement! What a safe place to be. This is where we grow the best and where relationships thrive.
Assumethe best, and others just may return the favor.