Assumptions are all about avoiding vulnerability. Assumptions cheat us out of the possibility for real dialogue. It is only through honest dialogue that we can have intimate relationships.
Why do we like hiding out in assumptions? 1. Assumptions are shortcuts. 2. They avoid the messy uncertainty of dialogue. Assumptions are one way to pretend to ourselves we know what’s going to happen.
Why are assumptions creepy? 1.We don’t have enough respect for the other person to risk asking what’s going on. 2. Assumptions cheat us out of the opportunity to understand someone else for real. 3. Believing you know them better than they know themselves is arrogant & self-serving.
I’ve watched couples where one person decides the other is angry even when the other person goes on to describe a different feeling, they are still not believed. I find this ordinary and remarkably awful. I also have the pleasure of watching couples melt the ice of their assumptions and end up surprised by what they learn about each other.
An example of a common assumption would be: “He is being affectionate & probably just wants sex so I’m going to turn away.” You comfort yourself in isolation with the idea that you know what will happen and then you avoid being vulnerable and finding out whether or not it’s true. It’s just so much easier to decide you know and then the silence leads to layers of distance that pile up over the years.
Truth depends on tolerating messiness; instead of politeness or the exaggerated fear of “hurting” someone else or the safety of deflection.
Intimacy requires truth, vulnerability, & respect for the differences which leads to understanding. Assumptions erase respect & the opportunity to explore differences so there can’t be mutual understanding.
Texting is all about assumptions. Texting is preferred because it avoids the voice tone, the attitude & the messiness of a conversation. Texts end “conversations” with premature conclusions based on far too little information.
Assumptions harden the distance between two people. Talking is the only way we can really go about softening the differences and learning to accurately “see” the other person. Talking about hard things may require 75 conversations over time. It’s the respectful layering of these conversations over time that leads to greater depth in intimacy.
Assumptions are internal superficial judgements that take place without any risk of involving someone else.