They say that when you assume you make and ass out of...well you know the rest. I am going to tell you that there are a few ways you can challenge your assumptions so that you don't feel like such an assumption-hole!
If you are a living, breathing human being (or animal, no judgment here!) you have probably made assumptions a time or two in your life. Assumptions sound like: "They probably didn't give me the job because XXX is such a kiss-ass," or "He didn't call me back because he didn't like what I said at dinner about his beard." I know what you are thinking, that you have been in these exact situations! ;-)
The truth is, assuming someone's intent, or what led them to a specific action or reaction can be dangerous. Not only to you, but to the way you trust your environment and the people around you.
The next time you find yourself making assumptions about a person or a situation, choose one of the options below or a combination of all three!
Ask the person why they did what they did, or said what they said. More often than not, people do not intend to come off the way we perceive it. Our interpretation of events is based on our previous experiences, interactions, and beliefs.
Example: Your friend hasn't called you or text you in a few days, when normally you talk everyday. You can assume that they are mad at you, or that you said something to offend them and now they are avoiding you. But what if you just asked them if everything is okay? Or better yet, call them and tell them you missed them, and that were wondering where they have been!
Stop telling a story in your head about what the other person is thinking or feeling. You have no idea what is motivating the other person, and in most cases it is going to be completely different than what you are guessing. Your mind has a tendency to fill in the blanks when your feelings are hurt or you can't make sense of things.
Example: She isn't reaching out to me because she doesn't care about me. I imagined that we had a strong relationship. Unless you have asked (step 1), you can't assume you know what has been going on for the other person.
Switch the script! If you can't bring yourself to do the first two, just make up a new story. You...are making up a story...anyway. If you are going to tell yourself something that has no foundation or facts to support it, you might as well make up something that makes you feel better and doesn't villainize the other person!
Example: She has probably been so busy with everything that has been going on for her. I know that when I get busy, I forget to answer text messages or respond to calls and e-mails.
***This isn't making excuses for the other person, but it allows you to have some peace while you are working up the courage to do the first two (or if you don't get a chance to confront the situation at all).
It takes practice, and sometimes an accountability-buddy! Good-luck!