To Assume or Not To Assume?

06 Oct

Assumption is the soup with which subs are swallowed – Abigail

One of the earliest lessons I learnt while growing up is never to assume. It is a lesson that I also tend to forget often because by nature I am an assuming person. But, I am often reminded – sometimes on a daily basis- never to assume.

But just what is assumption?

From the Latin ‘assumere’, which means “to take up, take to oneself”, assumption expresses what the assumer postulates, often as a confessed hypothesis; it expresses what the presumer really believes. The thing about assumptions is that they are accepted without proof. The assumer simply presumes that what he believes is true. Sometimes there is not even a shred of evidence that the assumption is true and at other times, the assumer simply gathers what believes to be evidence and acts on it.

What leads to assumptions?

One of the major reasons why assumption takes place is because the assumer either does not know how to communicate or does not want to communicate. The later is often tied to pride. The assumer finds it easier accepting his own truths than being humiliated when he finds out that he was wrong. Sometimes, it is the fear of confrontation. What if he seeks to clarify and the other person is not willing to listen? Another reason is anger. When a person is angry it is easier to assume than to ask questions.

As I said earlier, I had issues with assumptions, sometimes I still do. But I found a way of solving my problem to a large extent. I wouldn’t have even known that it was a problem if I didn’t see the negative impact it has had on my life on on my relationships. It is always better, safer, to ask questions than to assume. Assumption can ruin relationships.

The one solution I have found to my problem with assumption is to ask questions. Even in a situation when the answer seems so obvious, I choose to ask questions. You may choose to call the questions stupid or foolish but it is better than deciding for myself what the other person is thinking and acting on my believes. When I remember friendships I would have lost if I had just gone ahead to assume why people took certain actions!

A few scriptures helped me not to make assumptions. One of them is the scripture that reminds us that we all stumble many times. look at how the disciple James puts it:

We all make mistakes often, but those who don’t make mistakes with their words have reached full maturity. Like a bridled horse, they can control themselves entirely. – James 3:2

No human is perfect. We all make mistakes and because what I think can be a mistake, I would rather ask and be sure.

I also learnt from one of my bosses that it is never the best to leave a man without a way out. His theory, and I agree with him, is that even when you are sure that someone has offended you, you must always give them an opportunity to redeem themselves. Talking to them calmly and giving them an opportunity to explain things, even if they have to lie to free themselves, is the just thing to do.

In fact, realising that we are all imperfect also helps me to see things more clearly from the other persons perspective. I mean, whoever I am making assumptions about is also prone to wrong and so deserves an opportunity to make a retraction. If I go ahead and assume and take actions based on my assumptions then, they may never get an opportunity to retrace their steps.

This is actually one of the major reasons why I do not claim subtweets. If I have a feeling that someone is subbing me and the relationship is important enough, I find a way of reaching out to the person. But the truth remains that not all relationships are important and sometimes it makes a lot more sense to let go than to hold on to a relationship that causes pain. I would like to believe I strive for balance.

So, when I do take action based on assumptions, I am often prepared to face whatever consequences results. So, do you make assumptions or would you rather ask questions?

Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”…“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Luke 9: 18, 20a NIV


Posted by on October 6, 2013 in Thirty-Eight


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10 responses to “To Assume or Not To Assume?

  1. highlandblue

    October 6, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Nothing in life is guaranteed, not even Guaranty Trust Bank.

    • anagail

      October 6, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Very Funny Efe. Meanwhile, prepare for in three days I hope to read from you :p

  2. tianasagoh

    October 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    “Even when you are sure that someone has offended you, you must always give them an opportunity to redeem themselves……giving them an opportunity to explain things, even if they have to lie to free themselves, is the just thing to do.” – I do this all the time.

    My lecturer in Uniben always said, “Assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.” It was funny cuz it made him sound like an agbaya but there’s plenty truth in it.

    • anagail

      October 6, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      Yes, it is 🙂

  3. Olufunmi

    October 6, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I can relate with this. Totally. Good thing is, like you, I’ve learned to curb my “assumptive spirit”. I found that, over-sharpness /I-know-it-all, largely contributes to having this trait. What you said about not wanting to be humiliated is also true. “God forbid that I’m wrong!” LOL. In the end, the world is a better place for everyone, especially you, when you seek to understand rather than assume. 🙂

    • anagail

      October 6, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      We can only keep improving daily 🙂

  4. Lady of Wealth, Platinum Member 'siddon look' twitter

    October 6, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    ‘sub me jeje, sub me tender’ ‘I bet you think this sub is about you, dont you? ‘ LOL…. When in doubt, ASK Questions!!!!!!! 🙂

  5. famuyideolawale

    October 7, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Assumption used to be my demon, I really got hurt and hurt people because, I assume a lot about people, both good and bad. And there was a time I started becoming overly suspicious. Now I can say I am in a good place.


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