Assuming good intent — lessons from driving
It really annoys me when someone waits until the last possible moment to change lanes (often cutting in front of me).
Didn’t they notice they were in a turn lane before it actually turned? Couldn’t they see the merge sign several hundred yards back?
I can easily assume ill intent — they’re trying to get ahead at the expense of other drivers, they’re careless or distracted, or they think they’re more important and can drive however they like.
But what if I assume good intent? Maybe this is their first time in this part of town and the turn lane snuck up on them. Maybe they’re headed to the hospital and every second counts. Or perhaps they’re have a horrible day and it’s showing in their driving.
The truth is, I don’t know what their intent is without asking.
It might seem trivial to assume good intent for other drivers, but it’s an effective way to begin retraining ourselves to withhold judgment.
Assuming good intent is a difficult, but critical step towards empathy.
When in doubt, assume good intent.