We’ve all done it at one time or another – been confronted with information in some form and drew a conclusion that was ultimately proven to be false. Sometimes, nothing much happens when we jump to conclusions; at other times feelings are hurt, reputations are damaged, and the ill effects linger for years. When you feel the urge to react to something, take a moment and try these strategies.
Step back and look at what the information really is, not what you are inferring from it. For example, word that your spouse or significant other just walked into a motel only tells you that he or she went into a building. In and of itself, it does not tell you why the individual entered the building. Before you decide something untoward is going on, you need to get more information.
Consider the quality of the information. Is there a possibility that the information is flawed in some manner, or is possibly incomplete? Going back to the motel scenario, would it make a difference if you found your romantic partner actually went into the restaurant that is accessed just inside the front door of the motel? Very possibly.
Determine how reliable the source of the information actually is before you jump to any conclusions. Could the individual have some hidden agenda that is behind this sharing of information? Is this person known to get things wrong on a regular basis? If either of these scenarios apply, take whatever you hear with a grain of salt.
Investigate before you react. Find out more information that is relevant to the situation before you say or do anything. If you begin making accusations and find that your love interest went into a hotel to get change for the parking meter, tossing around accusations will likely cause some damage to the relationship.
Tips and Warnings
The trick is to give people the benefit of a doubt, at least until you have more data to go on. Making assumptions can prove embarrassing for everyone involved. Even when the temptation is great, do not arrive at any conclusions until you have enough information to fully understand what was said or what has taken place. In the end, you’ll be a lot happier.