This post comes to you care of a really basic cartoon i just drew. His name is… Cosmonaut Man? (woah.. he could become a super hero)
Assumptions are an interesting one, as they convince us of a truth that doesn’t exist. Assumptions mean that two or more groups of people are functioning out of two different views, thinking they are thinking the same thing.
This is a classic example of assumptions that go awry. we all come from different backgrounds, different standards of cleanliness, different standards of schedules too. lately I have found myself thinking
‘I’ll leave these dirty dishes until dinner, because then I can do my washing up all together’
But, as i live with six other dudes, if we all did that, our kitchen would be very untidy. But, my training of what clean is, could be entirely different to someone else. So in this example, as Cosmonaut man is asking generic astronaut to clean up, he is expecting the dishes to be washed and put away, the floors to be swept and mopped and the hand towels colour coded from light to darks. But generic astronaut is thinking something entirely different. When Generic astronaut hears that he is asked to clean the kitchen, he hears ‘can you clean your stuff, and make sure you leave the mopping till saturday’ because thats when he has always done it.
So when Cosmonaut man returns home to find almost nothing cleaned, he assumes that generic astronaut has little value for cleanliness, or he devalues the friendship and lied about being willing to clean up.
Now these assumptions can escalate if one party assumes that the other will apologise and until they do the relationship is on hold. But the other party could naturally assume that if they had wronged someone, then the other would come and talk about it.
We assume that everyone thinks like us. We assume that our way is the better way. We assume that the words we say are heard how we say them.
But a lot of the time we hear what we want to hear. Or we assume and hear what was said through our own desires and cultural grid.
I once took an outreach team somewhere I wasn’t familiar with and I assumed that they, like most outreach contacts, would organise our schedule completely. And when we found that our ministry kept falling apart or being delayed, I assumed that our contact was not good at his job. I also assumed that we would be given permission to make our own ministry, so we spent a day sitting around in the heat waiting.
In hindsight, my assumptions wasted everyones time. Our contact was passionately looking for things for us to do, and he was quite a fan of us making our own ministry whilst he tried re-setting up new stuff. Even with a language barrier, i could have had a simple, possibly awkward conversation to ask the boundaries of our expectations and their plans.
When living with people closely, its quite honouring to ask questions about what they are comfortable about. My last roommate sat down with me for a long period of time our first night and just talked about sleeping patterns and space required and what we liked doing. KNOWing gets rid of a lot of assumptions. And asking gets rid of the grey areas of our knowing.
don’t assume anything.