Making assumptions may lead to bullying

word of month character

There are two girls passing in the hallway – they are friends and they think they are great friends.   But this day that they pass in the hallway, one of them says hi and the other one does not respond.  She simply walks by without even the slightest recognition that she was spoken to.  What does the first girl think?

Ask any girl this question and they will tell you that she thinks the other girl is mad at her.  How do they know that she is mad?  “because she ignored her”!

ignoringThink for a minute though if that is the only reason that she did not respond?  What are the other possibilities?  Maybe they did not hear them say hi, or maybe the one girl was having a bad day!  If you are not really sure – and you just assume that it is because they are mad at you – then that starts all kinds of other feelings and possibly conversations with others.  The problem is that when we decide how another person feels without really knowing that is really not fair.  

You might be making an assumption.  When we make an assumption we are making a decision about something without knowing all of the details.  This thought that takes root in your mind will not easily go away.  It will grow into stronger feelings of your own – emotions, thoughts and eventually even actions – all based on something that may or may not be true.  You simply do not have the facts.

To avoid those kind of feelings that could lead to actions that could be harmful, it is much better to catch yourself when you are making assumptions.  Ask yourself – could there be other reasons they acted this way?  When we ask the right questions it opens up our mind to other possibilities and may save us from looking foolish, feeling awful and making a mistake with someone who may really be a good friend.
How does this relate to bully prevention?  Too many times individuals who have assumed wrong motives are quick to retaliate – sometimes in very harsh, mean and elongated attacks that destroy relationships and causes great harm.  Not sure about something – ASK or be willing to wait and see if later the situation remains the same.  Assuming what another feels is always dangerous to relationships.