On Making Assumptions

I’m sure everyone has heard the timeless adage about the implications of what it means to assume. So I’m not going to repeat it. But I am going to attempt to refute the universal nature of this credo, as I have in my life come to experience many situations that require assumption in order to survive, if not simply to avoid various forms of disaster. Although many people will agree that, in theory, assuming is wrong, I firmly believe that there are times when making a bold assumption is all you can–and should–do.

Let’s take in the case of the absent neighbor. You’re trying to drop of a package of Christmas goodies, but you find to your dismay that the lights are not on and no one appears to be home. You knock, no one answers. Now, at this point it would be most safe to simply assume that no one is present, and continue on your way. And in this case I think many would agree. But then there are those so completely devoted to anti-assumption that they would take this situation personally, and so would then do everything in their power to avoid the assumption of a neighbor’s absence, and instead follow a Sherlock Holmes type method of actually proving that no one was available, even implementing rather stalkerish and psychotic methods as necessary. (Such as climbing the back fence, skirting the rabid and foaming guard dog, and checking if the back door is unlocked, peeking in windows as well.) I however am not one of those lunatics.

So, when presented with a situation such as the current one, I find it safer and more efficient to make an assumption or two. Let’s say, for instance, that a guy had acted like he was extremely interested in you. He asked you out, tentatively at first, and when met with polite rejection on your part, he tried again. Even when it was at the least convenience to himself, he dropped all he was doing to spend time with you, and was incredibly sweet, charming, cute, and interested the whole time. He picks you up and carries you so that you don’t get your little feet wet, and sings you a song from his favorite Christmas collection. After a while, even your cold and unfeeling man-hating heart begins to slightly melt. When he walks you to the door, you expect him to do the typical guy thing and try to get some action before it’s too late, but instead, he gives you a nice embrace and departs like a gentleman, thanking you for the experience. Now, at this point, I’m sure that many people would be saying it’s safe to assume that this guy likes you quite a bit. However, many people are stupid.

Flash forward to about three days later. You’ve gone home to another state for Christmas. You try not to hope that he’ll call, because experience has taught you that even the most Prince Charming of guys often don’t. So the streetwise half of you expects nothing. But the little girl inside thinks, maybe….? So for a few days, you secretly hope. But then you realize that this is one of those situations where you would normally assume that when a week goes by and he doesn’t call, he’s not interested. Then you make that assumption and move on.

Yet another case of how a safe assumption can act as a guard against potential heartbreak, as well as saving you the time and humiliation of hopping the fence.