I was watching an episode of Friends yesterday that reminded me of a scenario I found myself in last year. It was an episode from the last season of the series. Ross wanted to stop Rachel from going to Paris so he decided to go to the airport to tell her how he felt. The plan was going well until Ross and Phoebe got in front of the board that contained flight information. He couldn’t find the number of the flight Rachel was meant to board. His phone call to his sister revealed that he was at the wrong airport. While Rachel’s plane was meant to take off from Newark airport, Ross was in JFK. He just assumed.
It’s not a funny situation to be in but I laughed really hard because it has happened to me. I was meant to see a movie with a friend in Ibadan around this time last year. When I got into Ibadan in 2013, the first cinema in Dugbe was about to be opened to the public. So throughout my service year, that was the only cinema I went to. Later in 2014, another one opened in somewhere called Samonda. I never went to that cinema because I was so used to going to the one at Dugbe and the one at Samonda was simply out of my route. So when my friend said we should go and see a movie, I didn’t bother asking “Which cinema?” In my mind it just had to be Dugbe.
So the day for our outing came and I was ready to head to Dugbe. I remember my adopted brother trying to pump information out of me about where I was going. I gave him some vague answers because the outing really wasn’t a big deal. So I got to Dugbe and I called my friend. “Where are you?” I asked. “I’m almost there. There’s a bit of traffic”, he replied. “Ok, I’ll be waiting around the place where they sell tickets”.
About 10 minutes later, my friend called to tell me he was already at the mall and he was making his way to where the cinema was. The walked couldn’t have taken five minutes even if he crawled so I was a bit bothered when after another 10 minutes I didn’t see my friend. “Where are you”, I asked when I called. “I’m looking for you! I’m in front of the place where tickets are sold”. “That’s where I am…” and just as I was about the finish that statement, it occurred to my brain to ask, “Emm, which cinema did you go to?” That was when we discovered that he was in Samonda and I was in Dugbe! Sigh. Needless to say, that ended the outing that day.
Why am I telling this long story? It is because it reminds me of why I hate assumptions so much. Nigerians tend to assume a lot and most times, they get things wrong. I love being straightforward; you know the let’s call a spade a spade. lay all your cards on the table type of person. You have no idea how much it annoys me when someone calls to tell me, “Oh Doyin, there is something I want to tell you but I’ll tell you later.” What do you mean you will tell me later? Why can’t you say what you need to say and let’s move on?
Making assumptions causes more harm than good. Learn to say what you mean and mean what you say. I don’t like people who lead others on. If you don’t like this guy or babe, why can’t you just say so? Why can’t people state their mission from the very beginning. You get some phone calls and you know this person is about to ask you for a favour but they just keep beating about the bush. I mean, it does my head it. Being straightforward doesn’t hurt. It lets people know where their place is and what to expect. It just makes life easier really when we don’t have to assume things.
Always do your best to be open and honest. Those are good values to develop. Just make sure you don’t cross that line of being blunt or rude. We already have so many rude people in the world today. Don’t add to their population.