Dumping Assumptions

Posted: July 22, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Before anyone begins to cry foul over this post, let me just say that I am going to try to handle this specific subject matter with as much ease as possible, so that my own discernment is not misunderstood.

If I were to add a quote along with this post as I have in many posts before, I think that we all know which would be the preferred selection. This is about assumptions. And since we all already know one by heart, there really is no need for it to be posted here.

With being the totally social person that I am, in that I love to meet new people and make friends, there are those times when an introduction is made and right away I can tell that it probably isn’t going to work out in the end. And so instead of suffering through from beginning until I’ve reached the inevitable end, I simply make the choice not to go after it and allow it to dissolve on its own. Still, I have been told that people have enjoyed my company for one reason or another. I believe that it is always nice to hear something like that. Of course, who really wants to hear something like “You are totally boring! Go away!!”. Well… those who are self-sadistic maybe, but not I.

I have found myself in the past week at three different times, being pulled into a game of “match making” shall we say? Nothing thrilling to write home about by any means, but I guess something to break the monotony of this week’s slow activity. I was introduced to some people by some others that I know.

All of that was fine, until I found out that the reason why these people decided to make the introductions in the first place- was because I have a physical disability and the people in which I was being introduced to some people who ALSO had some kind of disability.

Now I am not talking down against the actual act of the introduction to these people. I am sure that they are wonderful in their own ways as every one of us really and truly are. But what I am vehemently against was the assumption that this person knew two people with disabilities, I and the other person, and believed that some sort of connection would be made based on that fact alone.

As I stated, this happened three times with three separate people over three separate events. The fourth? Well, I actually did find some merit within that person and some interest, so I stuck with it and traded my contact information with them. But the other three was solely based on the other person’s assumptions that “we’d get along great!”, because we have something in common.

Well no, not really. Two of them had different disabilities than mine. Far different lives they live than I do. I can only imagine what they have to go through on a daily basis and by comparison would probably bet money that my life is a bit easier than theirs. But because of the only commonality between these people and myself were that there was a disability… doesn’t always mean that we will automatically end up giving each other the label of BFF.

Yet I was really nice and polite with everyone involved in these awkward instances. It was no surprise to myself and to the other disabled people that we did not make that perfect fit for a friendship. The ones that made the original introductions, stood there scratching their heads in great confusion.

One of them literally came up to me and whispered, “I don’t know what’s going on! I thought you two would hit it off… because you two are so alike, with the wheelchair and all.”

WHAT?!??

#1- Clearly, you are mistakened. #2- You do not know me as well as you thought you did. #3- You did not think this all the way through.

The commonality in this specific example was the fact that the other person uses a wheelchair for mobility. They were not born with Spina Bifida, nor do they have any kind of physical disability in which they deal with on a day to day basis that is medically based. They have the need for the use of a wheelchair because in their past, they were struck by a train and are now confined for the rest of their life to a wheelchair. That was the only thing that was in common.

I really wished that society would think twice before making decisions like these. It really would get rid of any kind of humiliation to be suffered by any one, including those who have made the decisions to assume. Then, it would have been a lot easier on everyone with no pressure.

Now had I gone up to my colleague and they said, “Oh hey, this is ______ , they were struck by a train a few years ago and now use a wheelchair.”, then that probably would have gone over a lot easier than assuming that they would make a perfect match. (Even though it probably would have offended the person from the train accident for having someone else volunteer their personal lives. Probably to the point where it would have still gone over better if they had left it to me to ask them why they were disabled.)

Who knows what could’ve happened then? I might have been able to make a new connection and friendship. But because it was based on an assumption and the entire situation was made uncomfortable for every one there, it failed.

Just because I like women with green hair and three boobs, doesn’t mean you should come up to me and assume that I am going to like your friend who also has green hair and three boobs. Or even white hair and three boobs. You probably just should allow those kinds of decisions to be left up to be made by me.

So I hope that I have not come across like some jerk in this post. Life is frustrating enough for me personally without someone trying to make me into a character from a novel by Anne Rice. Having people lump me together with another group of people based on an outward appearance that shows commonality. It is ridiculous. And I don’t have to say just how stupid it is to assume.

My humiliation from these experiences wore off when I departed from them.  The same probably goes for the other people in which I was introduced. But those who dared to assume that they had someone that would be “perfect” for me will probably bear their shame for some time to come.

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