Repeat After Me. To Assume Makes An


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Sunday was Mother’s day and I’m reminded of a simple yet powerful lesson my mom taught me when I was growing up. I have a hunch many moms taught their kids this lesson but if they didn’t, allow me to be the first. It goes like this. If you assume, it makes an ass out of you and me. She used to make me repeat that after her. I laugh now but the way history is going in my life as a parent, it will probably repeat itself.

I have the perfect illustration for this point. My co-blogger Jenny, our friend Mike and I had reason to travel to Oregon on business a couple years ago. Upon arriving at the hotel, the person at the front desk assumed Mike had his own room and Jenny and I were staying together. Wrong. After getting that straightened out, we headed to our rooms to find out he had given us one king-sized bed. Wrong again.

You might chalk that up to honest mistakes but I like to think they were very poor assumptions. Fortunately for that guy, we thought it was hilarious and it makes a great story. The lesson my mom taught me years ago still rings true. Don’t make assumptions! You’re welcome for the free advice.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeremy Watkin
Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Support and CX at NumberBarn. He has more than 20 years of experience as a contact center professional leading highly engaged customer service teams. Jeremy is frequently recognized as a thought leader for his writing and speaking on a variety of topics including quality management, outsourcing, customer experience, contact center technology, and more. When not working he's spending quality time with his wife Alicia and their three boys, running with his dog, or dreaming of native trout rising for a size 16 elk hair caddis.


  1. Jeremy: You have a compelling story, but I think it’s better to question some assumptions, than to prohibit oneself from making them. In fact, no assumptions really isn’t possible, since we’re making them 24/7–we just don’t realize it. A related blog that I wrote: Salespeople Can’t Sell Without Making Assumptions, which you can find on this site.

  2. Andrew, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment on my post! I thought your post was terrific as well. We truly could not go through a day without making assumptions but there really are so many safe assumptions that we make based on cultural norms.

    I’ve been to other countries and found out really quickly that some of my typical assumptions were wrong. I think the key is sensitivity and truly learning from the ones that bite us in the rear like you said.

    In the case of the hotel, I thought it was hilarious and actually still stay there on business trips.

  3. Jeremy: thanks for posting this blog – your comment reminded me of a similar story. Many years ago, shortly after college, a college buddy and I travelled to Europe to explore. Our first stop: Amsterdam. We had not made any reservations, and jet-lagged upon arrival, we set out to find a hotel. When we asked the receptionist at the first hotel we encountered “how much is a room?” he responded, “well that depends . . . on whether you want one bed, or two.”

    Clearly, this man was making no assumptions.


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