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Rule #26: Assume Nothing

I’m pretty sure assumptions are at the source of every confrontation I’ve had with other humans. Sometimes I’m the one that makes the assumption, and can’t handle the disappointment. Other times someone else made the assumption about me and experiences equal trouble dealing with said disappointment.  That’s why I have Rule #26: Assume nothing.

Like the time I called a certain airline’s customer service department to fix a little problem. I assumed they were a department designed to serve the customer. Imagine my surprise when I connected the dots and realized their utter lack of helpfulness was because they had no interest in offering me any service of any kind. That’s when the fight started.

Then, there were my college roommates. They assumed they knew how my laundry process would go. The first step would be to put the clothes in the washer and start it up. The second step would be to take the washed clothes out of the washer, put them in the dryer and start it up. The third and final step would be to take the dried clothes out of the dryer and put them away. But most importantly, they assumed this would all take less than a day. My dried clothes would sometimes sit in the dryer for weeks. Well, imagine their surprise when they noticed the pattern and connected the dots - that I don’t really do the last part of that third step. That’s when those fights started.

What about the last time you got into a fight with your significant other? Who assumed what? Did they assume you wanted to go out somewhere because you agreed to go? Or did you really have no interest and decided to tag along because they wanted to go? Did they assume because you both talked about something just one time, that those were all your thoughts on the matter? Or did you have more to say? 

Who is really at fault here? Is it the person making the assumption? Is it the person who doesn’t live up to the assumption? I do think it seems a bit pretentious to conjure up some expectations and then fly off the handle when they aren’t met. Then again, much like my dried clothes patiently waiting in the dryer to be folded up and put away, there are some assumed expectations that are entirely reasonable. Rule #26 serves to remind me that whenever I interact with another human, I should hold back on the assumptions and wait for some solid data before making any hasty decisions. Because that’s when the fight starts.

From the desk of Bryce Tobin, producer and head rant-writer for The Matt Townsend Show.

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