If someone fails to return your phone call, they’re obviously an inconsiderate jerk (and not just forgetful).
A friend who just gives you a birthday card when you sent a $50 flower arrangement for her birthday last month is a rude cheap skate (they couldn’t possibly be struggling financially).
And obviously, the guy who cuts you off in traffic is a serial killer in a hurry to claim his next victim (instead of someone who got distracted when his kids started fighting in the backseat).
How many times a day do we assume the worst about people?
Unfortunately, assuming the worst is a trap. It damages relationships as well as hindering our interactions with strangers. We’re better off if we “assume positive intent” about the people in our lives.
I’m not very good at it. Luckily, I have a positive role model in Honey. She’s the queen of assuming the best about others.
Honey assumes everyone loves her. She makes happy overtures to everyone she meets. Some dogs respond with a play bow and interested sniffing. Others hide behind their people or turn away with a little sniff.
Some people get down on the ground and share in Honey’s happy dance. Others pull away and show the standard signs of someone who finds dogs a nuisance.
Luckily dogs don’t think themselves into hurt feelings the way people do.
Honey assumes everyone wants to play with her. But when she finds it’s not true, she settles down and directs her attention elsewhere.
There’s a good lesson there.
Assuming the best about everyone I meet is probably a good idea. But Honey’s lesson doesn’t end there. Once someone proves that they aren’t interested (or that they don’t have positive intent) it’s time to ignore them and move on.
As Honey has learned, it’s not worth trying to convince someone to like you who just isn’t interested. Assume the best. But let go of the worst. It’s good advice, for the dog and for me.
Your Turn: Who is better at assuming the best about people and dogs? You? Or your dog? Has assuming the worst ever caused problems?