Assuming v Communicating

I heard it again just the other day.  This time it was not directed at me, so I wasn’t offended.  And this time I didn’t say it, so I didn’t offend.

The offending words, you ask? Starting a conversation or story with “You wouldn’t have thought of this, but…” or “you don’t know this…” or some other variation on this theme.

Excuse me, but you know what I do and don’t know or understand?

I realized a few years ago as I analyzed my preaching, as wella s that of others.  It is too easy to assume mastery of some topic or theme.  I realized, though, that I shut down a little bit when condescended to, and this is at least a little condescending.

I have chosen ever since to say something like, “You may not know this…” rather than “You don’t know this…”

One assumes more than is necessary about the target audience. The other intends to communicate rather than to assume.

And, as I’ve known at least since Ms. Lilly taught us in Geometry when I was in ninth grade, it is always better not to assume.

Why?  Ask a friend.  Or, if you know her, ask Ms. Lilly.

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