Sunday, October 30, 2005

Always Assume the Best

I assume we have all heard the phrase "Don't assume. It makes an A** out of U and ME". I am going to take issue with that bit of wisdom today. Have you ever looked assume up in the dictionary? I just did and it means lots of things, but the relevant definition is
To take for granted without proof; presuppose
Language and communication being what they are, we are forced to take some things for granted when talking with anyone.

Let me use a classic miscommunication as an example. The guy says to a girl, "You look nice today". His intent was to pay her a sincere compliment. Often, at least in comedies, the girl will respond, "Oh! So you mean I don't look good every day?". What happened? How does a compliment become an insult?

It has to do with assumed intent. Does the guy intend to compliment the girl or has he really been disappointed with her looks and finally she looks nice, for once. The answer is that the girl has to decide. Of course, guys and girls both do this sort of thing.

Whenever someone talks to us, we have to decide the intent of what is being said. We have a responsibility to decide. We have to assume. The problem arises when we assume incorrectly. When we assign the wrong intent to what is being said, the entire meaning will be changed. It is very important to get the intent right to understand what is being said.

A great way to get the intent right is that when your sweetie talks to you, always assume the best intent. Always put stuff in the "best possible light". If your sweetie really meant it that way, then your communication will be that much more enjoyable. If your sweetie meant it otherwise, you can often diffuse a tense situation and turn it into a comic misunderstanding in this way. Remember: The soft answer turneth away wrath.

Besides, your sweetie is a pretty great person. They were smart enough to marry you.
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