The Problem with Assumptions

One of the greatest obstacles to interpersonal relationship success are ASSUMPTIONS.   We make all kinds of assumptions in our communication with family, friends, coworkers, and email/facebook friends.

If our assumptions are accurate then our communications, verbal and written, are more likely to be successful.  That is I said ‘whatever’, and it was received in tact. The person listening or reading ‘got’ what I said ‘as I intended it’.

Recently I have noticed that family and friends are communicating in striated bands.  HUH?  What I ‘mean’ is that as I observe two, three, or four people talk, I ‘see’ that what is sent is ‘not’ what is received.  Therefore, simple arrangements about where to meet and when  and with whom are infused with chaos and disfunction.  I began to sit back and observe communication patterns and styles. There were so many disconnnects and misunderstandings that I ‘saw’ the problem as if the communicators were standing inside of a communication band (bandwidth) but the band was striated and they were on different frequencies.

There words, body language, and incorrect assumptions created so much static in their communication that the result was a disaster.  It was similar to those cell phone conversations that cut in and out and much of the communication is compromised due to dropped words and phrases.

When you are talking with someone, take the time to check with each other to see if you are sending and receiving clearly.  Assumptions are common, and commonly wrong.  We assume things based on tones of voice, body language, facial expressions, and our meaning and understanding of words.

We are now in the middle of a political circus, and the bands of communication coming through us in all directions are full of static.  WORDS WORDS WORDS.  Remember, that attached to each word is a meaning or concept.  Each person has a concept for each word, and sometimes an emotion connected to a word.  Check this out:

Democratic; Republican; Conservative; Liberal; Progressive; Freedom; American; Climate Change; Government; Integrity.

Every word has a concept based on our personal history, and we assume that OUR understanding of the word matches those in our communication circles.  WRONG.

Knowing this, be careful about making assumptions.  We assume that our understanding of words and the world is going to match the understanding of our friends and family and coworkers.  Assume instead that YOUR words don’t match MY words.  This is a bridge to begin the journey to successful communication.