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The dangerous mix of assumptions, dating, and social media



Cerith Gardiner - published on 06/15/23

Now more than ever we make unfounded assumptions that can destroy our chance of happiness.

Making assumptions about a person or a situation might seem necessary when we feel time pressure. We have all experienced moments when we make snap decisions without all the information we really need.

However, assuming to know what is in someone’s mind, or heart, can cause quite a lot of damage, and can actually lead to wasted opportunities.

Recently, when helping a friend navigate her new dating life, I saw just how dangerous presuming to know someone else’s mind and actions can be. (And actually, these dangers extend way beyond the quest for love.)

Here’s what happened: My friend Laura has been dating someone she met back in high school for the last couple of months — in fact, they dated for a couple of years back in their late teens.

Now, three decades later, the two of them found themselves single once more, and thanks to social media, they reconnected and started dating again.

Laura is over the moon. She’d always had strong feelings for her high school sweetheart, Jack. However, when she moved away with her parents, they lost touch, and she eventually met someone else, Rob. They formed a relationship, but after a number of years Rob left her for her best friend. It was all horrific and left her with absolutely zero confidence in herself or men.

Seeing her dating again is an absolute delight. She was, and still is, very excited about it all. But all those insecurities from her previous relationship are understandably impacting her judgment and her perceptions of Jack. And she’s actually using her assumptions of him to guide her — often badly — in her new relationship.

She assumes that if he doesn’t message her that he is no longer interested in her — and that’s only after 12 hours of no news! She’s quite categorical, stating that he’s been online, but not replied instantly to her message. Then, in a state of panic, she assumes she’s been dumped.

Over the last two months she’s been temporarily “dumped” about 10 times! It’s not only emotionally draining for her, it’s preventing her from living.

As I’ve explained to her on many occasions, he’s a college lecturer, a dad, and also a chef. Just because she has the time to send messages doesn’t mean he does.

I’ve also reiterated that while someone is online, we have absolutely zero idea what they are doing — and in all honesty, it’s none of our business. While she assumes he’s on messenger chatting to other women, he could simply be playing Candy Crush or chatting to his brother in a bid to unwind after a hard day.

Finally, I’ve also pointed out on numerous occasions that his lack of messages is not indicative of his feelings for her. We all express our sentiments in our own way. While some people might value a message, others might find them pointless and prioritize being truly present when they’re actually together, face-to-face.

While dating in itself has always left people open to heartbreak, in an age where it’s possible to do a little amateur sleuthing online, we can create stories in our minds, make unfounded assumptions, and potentially ruin our chances of really getting to know an individual.

So if you’re dating and want to find a healthy balance between staying safe, protecting your heart, and trying to find out more about a potential love interest, take online sleuthing with a pinch of salt, remember that you should never assume to know what is in someone’s heart, and likewise, don’t always assume that people have your best interests at heart.

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