When we say we know what others think, or would think, about something we have done or are about to do, we are mistaken.

We are mistaken because we never know what another person is thinking unless they tell us. One way of getting them to tell us is to ask them, but even then, THEY might be mistaken.

They might be mistaken because people often don’t really know what they think about something until they have reflected on it. Their immediate first response may not be accurate. Or, fearing rejection or retaliation, or to spare our feelings, they may not want to tell us. Then again, they may simply lie, for reasons of their own.

So, is assuming we can read other peoples’ minds or predict their thoughts a waste of time? We have to be sensitive to others, and empathy is all about anticipating another’s feelings. But feelings are not thoughts, they are different.

Rather than pretending you know what others think, it might be easier to guess at their feelings, and come to think of it, that might be a more useful course of action.

What do you think?