People's assumptions and how it affects us | INFJ Forum

People's assumptions and how it affects us

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by poeticinfp, Jun 1, 2009.

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  1. poeticinfp

    poeticinfp Newbie

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    Yes, I know that I have no control over people's assumptions about me, but that still doesn't stop me from being affected by it on a deep level.

    Yesterday, I walked into a store and the woman who owned it assumed I was a shoplifter and started to follow me around every aisle. She made little effort to hide that she was following me around. In fact, she said explicitly at one point "don't go down that aisle ! there's nothing for you there!"

    At this point I just wanted to walk out of the store, but I figured that I might as well buy something because I might have valdated her wrong assumption if I had just walked out without buying anything.

    There is also a racial component to this. I am black, and this has happened to me in the past. However, this time it really affected me because I also felt a lot of hostility and negative energy from this woman as she followed me around. I wasn't being paranoid, and there was no room for ambiguity. She really was following me around, and the words she explicitly said to me only confirmed the hostility that I felt emanating from her.

    There I was in the store feeling like absolute crap, yet I kept trying to make excuses for her behavior ( "she was robbed before, possibly with a weapon and is suffering from some kind of ptsd")

    As I said, we have no control over what people think of us, but it still doesnt lessen the hurt. Can you share some experiences or ideas of how you personally deal with this ?
     
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  2. IndigoSensor

    IndigoSensor Product Obtained
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    In situations like that, I would have opened my mouth. That is just flat out wrong, and mean.

    People's assumptions of me are usually right. However, they only capture a glimps of me at the moment that they see me, and most people are usually surprized later on. I make an effort to appear to people in a way I want them to see me (when I am aware of it). Outside of that though, I really don't care what they think of me very much.
     
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  3. OP
    poeticinfp

    poeticinfp Newbie

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    Hmm...there were times when I wanted to open my mouth, but she was in such a state like she was ready to lash out, that I took my usual "avoid conflict" route.

    I felt like anything I said would have been misconstrued.
     
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  4. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    I admire this:
    I hope you never let the ugliness of the world kill this in you. I don't mean that you need to make excuses for everyone, but the fact that you didn't hurt her back because you understood that she was probably hurt.
     
  5. slant

    slant Sedated slanty

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    I don't like assumption, just in general.

    This situation is an interesting one, but I think that the assumptions I dislike are these and assumptions of what I think, how I feel, and what I'm going to do with my life.

    There seems to be an 'adult-trying-to-save-someone-from-screwing-up-their-life-like-they-did' syndrome. I suppose it doesn't only occur with adults, but my peer group doesn't seem very interested in warning others about mistakes they have made on such a serious level. In this syndrome, adults will feel that they 'relate' to you and make assumptions based on what they think/feel/did with their life. In fact, I've noticed this happens with most interactions with people on a daily basis...
     
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  6. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    :hug:

    It sucks, poetic...I'm Black as well, and I've had a few interesting run-ins with retail folks. Usually it's just them following me around or "straightening up" things near me. Often. Things that are already straight. Or, it's the, "can I help you find anything" question every three minutes. Most of the time I'm left alone, but every once in a while it feels like "Clobberin' Time."

    But as a Black male, I know it can be much worse. I sympathize with you, I honestly do. Especially when it feels like this crap should be over and done, but some folks haven't left the 1950s yet. I suppose next time, you can ever so politely tell her that you were planning on purchasing something, but her attitude is not one you appreciate. Call her out on her racism, but politely. Or, confess that you're not sure what she's talking about and that you'd like to discuss why she feels that way. That usually gets folks to think about what they're saying.
     
  7. youngster

    youngster Community Member

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    oh i know!
    some people are just awful- brittish respose!
    we'v all been there mate, but im like you aswell, ill stay to make a piont.

    something simmilar happent to me today actually. i was sitting a maths exam at school, forgetting that i had i fake tatoo of a spider web on my wrist(long story). and the examiner was looking at me like i was some off my head daft teen on samk or smethin. so when she took my paper off me at the end i said 'thanks' proper nicly. the look on her face was a treat!

    seriously man, i hope you don't feel bad
     
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  8. chasing the wind

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    I agree. When we take a minute to think about what others are going through, instead of automatically assuming that they're out to get us we avoid a lot of conflict. If we take everything as a personal affront then we will respond in anger. If we try to see why they act the way they do, we will be able to respond in understanding.

    Though arbygil is right, sometimes people need to have their misconceptions challenged in a polite manner. They may not know they have a prejudice or that it hurts people.
     
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  9. secretsmile

    secretsmile Regular Poster

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    poeticinfp, I'm sorry that happened to you. While I admire that you considered where she was coming from, if I were with you, I would have gladly asked her exactly what she meant by what she said. I might have even turned to say "we don't need help finding anything, but thank you" just to catch her off guard.

    When people make negative/incorrect assumptions about my character or the motivation behind my actions, it makes me want to do whatever I can to prove them wrong.
     
  10. squashballer

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    Ya probably the best thing to do was to open your mouth and simply confront her.

    Tell her just because I am black doesn't mean I go around stealing.
    And end it off with some of threat along the lines of how would your reputation look if people knew you were racist.

    I think if you mentioned that it would shut the person up.
     
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