Can We Not Make Assumptions, Please?

Right now is a weird phase for me. I’m not in the placement process at Praxis nor am I in the apprenticeship. I’m in this weird in-between phase that makes it hard to explain to other people, when they ask, “So, are you in school now, or…?”

Speaking of which:

I hate that question. 

It’s very presumptuous. It’s normal in our culture for people to go to school but not everyone does that. I’ve started recently to try to not make so many assumptions about other people. 

When I’m working at Starbucks, it’s perfectly normal for couples to come in. It’s also normal for people who are just friends to come in. So usually, I just ring up one person and then ask if they want anything else. That way they can easily say, “I’m paying for you today,” or say, “No, that’s it.”

See? No assumptions were made.

When I hang out with my guy friends, we often go to coffee shops or get lunch. It’s often one-on-one.

So what do you call it when a guy and a girl hang out one-on-one?

Obviously, it’s a date

If I could insert the most annoyed looking emoji here, I would. Honestly, I get it. I’m comfortable with my guy friends. I joke and laugh with them; I’m friends with them because we have a connection. Unfortunately, random strangers look at that and make assumptions: we must be dating. They often don’t ask and just put us on the same ticket. 

(There was one time where a lady put me and my friend on the same ticket when we checking out at a pizza place. She asked each of us if we wanted a drink and we both said yes. I realized that she was putting us on the same ticket and said quickly, “Oh, no, we’re separate.”
She looked at me with utter disbelief and said, “You’re not together?”
I responded, “No.”
Her face said that she could not even comprehend this information.
“You mean… you’re not together? I thought you were together.”
I just gave up at that point and said, “Okay, we’re together today,” and paid for my friend.) 

This goes beyond the realm of dating — although that’s the one I’m most annoyed about (clearly). We all make assumptions. That’s not always a bad thing. But a lot of things are going on behind these assumptions we make.

We’re judging based on stereotypes. A guy and a girl can’t hang out one and one without it being a date. 

We’re assuming people to be fairly onesided. It’s easy to look at someone and give them a label. You can see them as that thing and then turn off your brain and never worry about it again. But that’s excluding one very important fact: people are complex individuals who have complicated lives, pasts, and presents.

We’re quietly closing ourselves off to new things. When we assume someone is a certain way, we’re not giving them the grace to be different. We’re not giving them a benefit of a doubt. We’re not giving them a chance. To make assumptions is put someone in a box. 

All kinds of people come into Starbucks because pretty much everyone loves a good cup of coffee (except for me, ironically enough). It’s one of my favorite things about working there. I have no idea who these people are or where they’re coming from. They’re just coming in for coffee or something sweet (we have some dang good frappuccinos). They could be having the best time of their life or they might be going through a rough patch. I don’t know. You never know.

My philosophy is this:

I don’t know half of what’s going on in your life. There are very few people who I can boast that I know 50% or more of what they’re going through. So I’m going to be kind, open-minded and pay attention. I’ll notice your tone of voice and body language and try my best to help you feel good. It’s not just my job: I believe it’s part of what makes me human. You’re human, too. I want to treat you like one.

So next time you see me make assumptions about you, correct me, okay?


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