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People who assume... ugh... very annoying

I have coworkers who assume things about me. It reminds me that I used to do that too. It's very annoying.

Thinking back, the reasons I used to that was because I was lazy to get to know a person. It was just easier to assume certain details about a person. I had little to no regard to what the other person would feel if I spat out misinformation about them. I didn't care because they weren't me. It was just pure selfishness. I'm guessing my coworkers are the same way that I was.

Even though I understand them, I still find it hard to have compassion for them in that regard. Perhaps the type of compassion I should have for them is some other type I haven't thought of.

I recently called out one of them for assuming something false about me, maybe that is the right compassion. I'm not too miffed about it, because I know they didn't mean any harm. I'm just annoyed.

I am very glad that I've learned my lesson, because friends have gotten mad at me for it. I guess I feel sorry for them for still not learning something important like that well into their adulthood. I guess that explains a lot about the state of their social lives. They don't seem to have many friends that I hear about. Perhaps they've pissed them all off.


  • Even when we "know" someone, it is still an assumption.

    People are always new.

    Something to think about:

    What is true? What is false? Are these objective? Or are they thoughts chained aka memory. How reliable is memory? And does reality in the unfolding moment have a connection to memory? Why do I bring memory to the moments unfolding. Are people what I project/interpret? Can I see people without projecting/interpreting? Why do I have standards for people? Why do I construct a narrative about people? Why do I construct a narrative for myself?

    Something to consider:

    Having compassion for yourself and your past mistakes, will help with having compassion for others which you assume to have the same problem as prior "you".

    If you haven't solved the issue by giving compassion to yourself, then how can you ever give compassion to others? You only see your faults in others, when other people are direct mirrors to you. So really who is needing the compassion here?

    Chew on all that <3
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited November 2012
    @taiyaki, I just read somewhere that in neuroscience some people are thinking that memory is via 'resonance' rather than sort of like a disc data system. Makes total sense. So some event triggers brain to be in some pattern and then a resonant event (all mixed up with other stuff) spins out a thought experience through the resonance.

    @still_learning, this was a very interesting question that I had to get back to. I like taiyaki's answer. My resonance stuff ^^ can go through time too. You make a wrong assumption and then somehow figure out the truth. In that second you would have to know: what your assumption was, a memory of that time, what doesn't fit with the assumption, and then it would have to somehow transform that IMPRINT. And then like on this forum we hear so many names that we can't conceptually know all of the impressions we have of people. Like I might just say "oh taiyaki is that emptiness guy" and then look at that through a filter.

    I think it is a learned skill to SLOW down and sometimes carefully consider things. But we all are learning as we go and it is INEVITABLE that we are doing some assuming.

    I think you experienced some pain seeing your old self. Do you think that hurt is making you negative towards your co-workers who are now in the same shoes you are in? I don't understand why knowing how you used to be doesn't make you more compassionate rather than less?
  • We all do it. Pay attention tomorrow and see how many times.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    Making assumptions, to some degree, is part of our survival. It's how we judge if we should proceed or turn back. If we should cross the road or risk confronting those on the corner. In our lives today its taken a turn for the worse, but it's built into our biology to do so. We just don't live lives of constant danger anymore (most of us) so we turn our assuming towards other things. It's part of who we are, and fighting against it is hard!

    Are you sure it doesn't irritate you still, because you still do it some and can't figure out why? I'm only asking because that is what I do. Someone will say something, here, on FB, in "real life" and my first thought it "ugh, why do you have to be a bitch and say it that way?" and right away the answer comes now as "because you (me) know that's how you'd say it, too, and you see yourself in that person even now." That's the truth for me. The words might not come anymore, but sometimes the thoughts still do and I wish they wouldn't and sometimes I beat myself up for it. Because I recognize it better in myself now, I recognize it that much more in others, and what I dislike in them, I dislike in myself even though I've improved and am still working on it.
  • I assume we always assume we do not assume? :wow:
    Being new to Buddhism, I only took it up today . . . I assume a lack of assumptions is . . . dare I say it . . . possible?

    Wow :bowdown:
    So bad at being a buddhist :( , hope it gets easier . . .
  • lobster said:

    hope it gets easier . . .

    The great way is not difficult for those who have no preferences :lol:
  • I can see making a mistaken assumption about someone. But actually spreading that assumption around to others? I don't get this. Guard against false speech and gossip.
  • taiyaki said:

    How reliable is memory?
    And does reality in the unfolding moment have a connection to memory?
    Why do I bring memory to the moments unfolding.

    Sadly, my access to the full article has expired:

    Memory: Remembrance of things to come
    08 October 2012 by David Robson
    New Scientist Magazine issue 2885.

    WHEN thinking about the workings of the mind, it is easy to imagine memory as a kind of mental autobiography - the private book of you. To relive the trepidation of your first day at school, say, you simply dust off the cover and turn to the relevant pages. But there is a problem with this idea. Why are the contents of that book so unreliable? It is not simply our tendency to forget key details. We are also prone to "remember" events that never actually took place, almost as if a chapter from another book has somehow slipped into our autobiography. Such flaws are puzzling if you believe that the purpose of memory is to record your past - but they begin to make sense if it is for something else entirely. That is exactly what memory researchers are now starting ...

    The thrust of the article was towards memory being a tool for future planning rather than for accurate remembrance
  • Thank you for all the good responses. Yeah, I'm probably still making assumptions.

    What bothers me is that my coworkers could easily just talk to me to learn more about me. I'm an approachable person. I even start conversations with them to learn more about them.

  • What bothers me is that my coworkers could easily just talk to me to learn more about me. I'm an approachable person. I even start conversations with them to learn more about them.

    This is the normal thing that happy, well-adjusted adults do. They talk with each other, not about each other. Keep up the good work on your part. You're modeling healthy behavior. That's all you can do.

    How do you know they're making false assumptions about you, btw?

  • Dakini said:

    How do you know they're making false assumptions about you, btw?

    I hope it's not merely your assumption !
  • I have coworkers who assume things about me. It reminds me that I used to do that too. It's very annoying.


    Maybe it won't be so annoying if they are assuming good things.

  • GuiGui Veteran
    You wouldn't be so worried about what people think of you if you knew how seldom they did.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    @still_learning: Get over it. Making assumptions about people is a human trait that your annoyance isn't going to have any effect on. And I can guarantee you that even without knowing you, you do it yourself to some degree. Or at least, I can honestly say that if you don't, you're the first person I've ever met that didn' some degree.

    I think the elephant in the room that nobody has brought up is -- why are they making certain assumptions about you?
  • There are meetings regularly at my office, and there are sodas left over. One of my coworkers assumed that I hoard these sodas at my desk. In reality I only take one at a time. Recently he voiced that assumption to other coworkers in front of me and I corrected him. He could easily tell from looking at my desk that there were no sodas.

    There are also meetings where there is food left over, usually sandwiches. The same coworker assumed that I was eager to get the sandwiches so he quickly tells me about them. I can't tell if he's being nice or teasing me. He tells me with a quick laugh and a smirk. In reality, I bring my lunch half the time and when I'm already full from lunch I don't even take a sandwich. He, however takes a sandwich almost every time, which I've seen with my own eyes. Sometimes it seems like he wants to make himself feel ok about taking a sandwich if I take one.

    Another time, this same coworker assumed that I left Chinese food in the fridge for weeks. It has gone bad and should be thrown out. He's seen me eat Chinese take out ONCE for lunch, and the containers don't even look remotely similar to the ones in the fridge. Another coworker has complained about the leftover Chinese takeout to me because he thought it was mine, based on what the first coworker told him. I had to straightened them both out.

    I wasn't too mad because I was able to nip these assumption in the bud, but it's still annoying.

    Sure, I make assumptions about people too, but I rarely act on them or discuss my assumptions with others. I also take the time to ask the person to get to know them better if I have made assumptions (in my mind) about them. I don't think I've ever accused anyone of anything based on an assumption.
  • Office politics :shake:

    I'm just gonna work from home :lol:
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    It sounds like the problem is mainly with ONE co-worker who may just be socially awkward, or maybe is teasing or maybe is just being a jerk. Ask him, if you want to know the answer. If you don't, then you have to decide to let it go. Try to remember though that social constructs that make sense to most of us, don't make sense to others. As the mom of a child who doesn't always "get it" I can tell you it's more common than you probably know. So instead of being annoyed, perhaps it is a good lesson to use patience and compassion with someone you don't understand. It's not as if he's accusing you of stealing or gossiping about you. They are pretty small issues, it seems, and if they are upsetting you that much perhaps you need to look at why that is rather than looking at him as the problem.
  • @karasti

    Yeah, this one guy really piled it on this past week. That's the reason for my post. Other coworkers do this to me once in a while. You're right this guy is socially awkward. I'm patient with this coworker, it's just that my patience almost, almost ran out last week.
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited November 2012
    These people sound immature. I don't think it's normal to make assumptions like this. I don't think "we all do it". These are people who have personal issues.

    Like the sandwich guy; he's projecting his own stuff onto you. All you can do is remain above the fray, and take steps to head off any problems. Like with the sodas; after the meeting, put them all in the fridge or a common area, so they can be up for grabs, or save them for the next meeting, or ask the group if anyone wants the leftovers. How are the leftover sandwiches disposed of? Maybe it's just a matter of more implementing a more transparent process of dealing with leftovers. And maybe someone needs to check the fridge at the end of each week and make a general announcement that any unclaimed food will be tossed.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    "Like the sandwich guy; he's projecting his own stuff onto you."

    Assumption. ;)
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited November 2012
    vinlyn said:

    "Like the sandwich guy; he's projecting his own stuff onto you."

    Assumption. ;)

    No, that's called a "conclusion", arrived at from observing his behavior. A diagnosis, even.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    Or he could be, as I said, just someone who is socially awkward and cannot control it. My son gets in trouble all the time because he's joking only no one can tell because he doesn't understand cues, body language, sarcasm or using voice tone to make a point. Sometimes he's kidding around and it comes across as an insult. Sometimes it just confuses everyone around him. Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang is a very accurate portrayl of my son's social abilities, lol. It's comical on the one hand to those of us who know him, and concerning on the other because society is pretty unforgiving if you don't fit in. So, as usual, the "Be kind to everyone for they are all fighting a battle" type quote applies. You just never know why someone is the way they are, so it's best to take from experience and say "well it's annoying but what if its not his fault" as opposed to judging and assuming. I do it a lot with my driving and it helps immensely to calm my road rage to a point it is not nonexistant. Having the ability to put yourself in an imagined person's shoes is a great thing.
  • Don't worry everyone. I'm not upset about it. I'm over it already. The dude just piled it on this one time. Also, I thought it would make for interesting discussion, since I'm probably not the only one who experiences stuff like this.
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