But as Austen delineates so clearly, you can't stop people from making assumptions if they're so inclined. You can only do your best to show your character through your actions and hope that other people will be capable of forming sound opinions. And if you're a realist like Austen, you'll also be wise enough to realize how many people aren't up to it.
~ Amy Smith, All Roads Lead to Austen: A Yearlong Journey with Jane
In September, I’m participating in the Sapphire Even Day Blogging Challenge and the Two Pages-A-Day Writing Challenge. That’s why this week’s Top Five Friday post is appearing today.
orget first impressions ~ even fourth and fifth impressions can lie.
They only give us a piece of the puzzle that is another person. And yet we make assumptions about what the final picture is all the time. We all know the old adage: “To assume is to make an ass out of you and me.” Yet it’s become an adage because it’s true.
Recently, the term “resting bitch face” (RBF) has come to mean those who look solemn, or angry when in fact, they are just thinking, or checked out mentally for a moment. Because we are not mind readers (thank God!!), we have to rely on facial expressions, tone of voice, and other visual cues to understand someone.
Or you know, we could just ask.
Don’t Look at Me in That Tone of Voice!
We are all guilty of rash judgment at some point in our life. Some of us even turn assumptions into an art form. Don’t be that guy or gal. One of my favorite mantras is “Remember that everyone everywhere is carrying a heavy burden. Always respond with kindness.” Even if you think you are in the right, you probably aren’t. There will always be some factor you overlooked, didn’t take into account, or never even know about.
Even with people who are say hateful and hurtful things ~ dig deep enough and I have found that most of them were abused or neglected as children or suffered some trauma. It’s a vicious cycle: they say something that triggers some inner fear or unresolved hurt you have, you respond and your response triggers something unresolved in them. Where emotions are high, reason often gets hijacked.
Image Credit: Pinterest
There is a condition to my mantra: no one deserves to be mistreated, so once you’ve tried the patience and kindness response, if the person continues to abuse you, then you have every right to simply walk away and cut them out of your life.
Think You Know Me?
You can never fully know someone. There are nooks and crannies in our soul and psyche known only to God. Even a confessor or therapist only knows what we reveal to them. And some truths we hide even from ourselves. Even the most gregarious person has secrets they share with no one.
I’ve never been afraid to dig deep and examine my thoughts, rationalizations, assumptions, or expectations. But I don’t share everything with everybody all the time. And I suspect people who think they know me would be surprised to discover these five things:
Life of the Party vs. Shrinking Violet
I like people. I can count on one hand the number of people I don’t like and my dislike usually stems from knowing that they abused someone I love.
I also like feeding people. If I had my way, my door would stay open from all the people coming in to “set a spell” and share a pot of tea. And yes I’ve been known to be the center of attention at a party ~ including the ones I host. My extrovert side revels in it.
But crowds overwhelm my introvert side. So I’ll sneak away to a dark, quiet room and sit or lie down for ten to fifteen minutes. No one notices and I emerge refreshed and ready to take up my hostess duties again.
Except now they will notice because I just revealed it. Doh!
Extrovert Equals Comfortable on Stage
Because I’m perceived as the life of the party and because I have performed on stage before, it is often assumed that I am at home in the limelight. While I do love to sing, I am a nervous wreck before a performance and you can usually find me pulling a Papa Hemingway fifteen minutes before show time. Usually wine, but occasionally something harder.
What? It loosens the vocal chords!
Cultural Junkie vs. Farmgirl
Art of all mediums is like the air I breathe. I love to spend an evening at the opera or the symphony, dressed to the hilt in vintage pearls and velvet. So some people assume that I’m a city girl who loves the bright lights.
Velvet and pearls I love. But I love organic dirt and bare feet even more. Something you might not know if you a) don’t read this blog, or b) you haven’t been invited to my farm.
She’s Quiet, She Must Not Like Me
This is related to the life of the party assumption. I don’t know if I have “RBF” but I know that I sometimes give the impression of reservation or distance when in actuality I was either extremely tired, or extremely concentrated on working on some inner problem.
And sometimes when I’m extremely tired, my childhood shyness will pop up. But rest assured, if that happens, chances are I really, reallllly like you.
Leave the Wolves. . .and My Guns Alone
Probably the biggest assumption people make about me is in regards to my social views. Because I love people, I have friends from every walk of life: vegans, carnivores, black, white, gay, straight, Christian, agnostic, etc. And there are some friends I would never invite to the same party ~ there would definitely be a fight!
Most of my friends know I believe strongly in upholding the Second Amendment. Anyone who tells you that people don’t kill, guns do is either lying, has never been angry, or has never watched Criminal Minds. If someone wants you dead, and they don’t have a gun on hand, they will find some other way to kill you.
Part of my belief in the right to bear arms, is that I believe that people should be able to hunt ~ as in, meat doesn’t come from the grocery store. So if you hunt and eat the meat you kill, I support you. If you hunt for the sheer sport of killing, no can do.
So you will also find me fighting to save the wolves and other predators ~ especially in the Pacific Northwest. Because an ecosystem needs everyone to survive: predator, prey, plant, life, and death. Too often we upset the delicate balance. And we should know better. We’re supposed to be the ones with reason after all.
Don’t agree with me? No judgment here ~ we can still be friends. Just leave your assumptions at the door and be prepared to party.
Unless you’d rather just sit quietly with a pot of tea. I’m up for that too.
Oremus pro invicem,
What about you? What assumptions do people make about you and how do you combat them?