Thoughtful Thursday – Assumptions


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I disagree with the saying that when you assume something you make an ass out of u and me. You just make an ass out of yourself.  Assumptions show others how small your worldview is.

Assumptions are a tool of the lazy. When you invent an entire image of a person, city, country, generation instead of researching beyond your own experience, you’re lazy. When you assume you know someone based on 2 conversations on social media, you’re just plain wrong. And it’s ridiculous to think otherwise. There are 525,600 minutes in a year and if you think you can know what one person does with each of those from a brief interaction, you are living in a bubble.

Hell, you can’t even be sure you know people you hang out with in person regularly. Everyone that “knew” Ted Bundy thought he was a wonderful human being. They had no clue he spent his time burglarising homes; kidnapping, raping, and killing women; or fornicating with their dead bodies.

Newsflash! People don’t experience or perceive situations the way you do. Your own feelings on something don’t make it okay to speak for an entire generation. Your feelings also don’t make you any kind of authority on a subject.

Also, generations are a marketing construct, which means they aren’t meaningful for determining how to treat humans beyond trying to sell them shit. But I digress.

And we’ve all made assumptions at one time or another. I did in one relationship. It didn’t work out, in part, because assumptions piss people off! They aren’t an effective communication tool. Even less so when issued after an ad hominem attack.

Now, we can infer, that is to make an educated guess based on in depth research and facts about something such as Trump is dangerous. We could infer this before the election as there was a pile of evidence about the way he thinks and how he runs his businesses.

Inferences aren’t made after 1 or 2 brief interactions. One must gather solid evidence. The non-circumstantial kind. Imagine if someone went to court and only had weak evidence. Or if NASA didn’t research all possible use cases for an astronaut in space.

I can reasonably infer that the teen boys in my anime club spend their free time doing homework, playing video games, reading, watching more anime, and masturbating. The club is in a library, we’ve chatted about manga, and they’re teenage boys. This doesn’t mean that they don’t also play instruments, do martial arts, take swimming lessons, have girlfriends, attend church etc. They are humans with other interests.

I’ve volunteered with kids and teens a number of times in my life actually. The all day kind where you are spending more time with them than their parents or teachers do. The same issues are prevalent and only look different or are slightly intensified. The internet has been around since the 1970s. Having worked at a telecom company, I know a few things about the Internet. Yeah, it wasn’t in everyone’s pocket, but kids and teens are doing all the same things they always have. Boys and men have been looking at Playboy Magazines and watching porn as long as it has existed. Having brothers, I know a few things about boys I often wish I didn’t. And I’ve dated, a lot. Most of my friends were male in high school.

I have zero blinders on when it comes to the lives of teens. I experimented a lot when I was one. I had friends from every social group and class. Two of my friends came from an affluent family that gives scholarships. Other friends lived in the poorest neighbourhoods. I’ve been bullied, and I’ve saved other kids from bullies. I’ve been attacked on the street by older teens. I’ve been the only female in shop class. I once dated a drug dealer. Not so much on purpose, as I was naive before him, but I figured it out quickly. I’ve been cheated on. Friends and I would chat on ICQ with strangers and we didn’t chat about kittens. We watched porn on VHS when our parents were out. We partied. Dial-a-bottle brought liquor to us hassle free. Many had experimented with marijuana, mushrooms, LSD, and heroin. I lived in a city that was 1/18th the size of Ottawa. I walked in on a threesome at one party. I had friends who spent lunch hour blowing their boyfriends under the stairs. You can’t go under the stairs at that school anymore as they installed lockable storage areas after we went there. It’s to be torn down soon, actually. Many of my friends in high school were sexually active and kids were having sex in my Catholic primary school. It’s amazing I stayed a virgin until college when you think about it. My parents didn’t attend parent-teacher nights. I managed my own grades and it was fine that I was horrible in some classes because I just didn’t have an aptitude for math and my teacher wouldn’t explain anything. That isn’t everything I experienced while in high school. I never crossed a line that would put me in serious trouble with the law though.

If you work with kids and teens and think that the group you interact with is representative of all kids and teens on earth, you make an assumption. You don’t have enough information for it to be anything else. And they’re all individuals who respond differently to stimulus. You can’t one-size fits all and think you’ll truly reach them. And you REALLY can’t make a difference by ignoring reality. The real one, not your alt facts one. The reality that includes the fact that they are likely sexually active.

I don’t think it’s even okay to assume you know everything about your spouse regardless of how long you’ve been together. Why? Because people grow and change perspectives throughout their lives. It never hurts to ask if someone still loves a band before you buy concert tickets. Maybe they have a new band they want to see. Or maybe you want to try something new in the bedroom and get an awkward response. Maybe you caught them off guard and they need time to think about it. If someone says no today, that shouldn’t be thought of as “never”. Imagine if you assumed based on one no that your spouse never wants to have sex with you again. Yes, you should check with your spouse to see if they want to have sex rather than assume. Marriage doesn’t equal entitlement.

Stop assuming things about other humans. Be brave and get to know them properly. Ask them questions. Don’t launch personal attacks at them because you don’t like the evidence they’ve provided you. It’s a shitty thing to do. Be a better human.

Salut,
R~

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