You know what they say – when you assume something, you’re making a ‘ass’ our of ‘u’ and ‘me’.
So are you an ass?
I recently caught up with a friend I hadn’t seen for a while and we were reminiscing about how we became friends. Whilst we have much in common, there are significant differences between us that keep our conversations interesting and vibrant. During the chat, he stunned me with the statement, “I was intimidated by you when we first met”.
I was taken aback. Here was a good friend, someone I admire and appreciate, telling me I was intimidating. But it’s the next statement which tells a more complete story. “I was intimidated because you were well dressed and had answers to questions that the Commissioner was asking you. I assumed you were arrogant and bossy. I was so wrong.”
The image people have of us is rarely the truth of who we are. It’s also rarely the image that we wish to project. How people see us is a product of their own assumptions about what they see, hear, smell and think. They make assumptions about someone through the filter of their own perceptions.
And, so do you.
So, essentially, we are all asses.
It’s not just about First Impressions (although you can read our earlier post about First Impressions if you’re keen to know more), but the ongoing assumptions we make about people because of internal filters we need to actively challenge.
The first step you can take is to think about someone you have a distinct impression about. It may be someone who you think of as “challenging” or maybe you are a little intimidated by them. Got someone in mind? Now, go and talk to them…about anything you like. Ask them a question, strike up a conversation and get to know them a little better. Challenge yourself to learn something about that person that you didn’t know previously.
Stuck for a conversation starter? Google is your best friend!
Keen to challenge your personal assumptions? Anjali Mani has some tips worth reading about here: