I was talking to a current supervisor of mine the other day.  I had worked with her years earlier at another workplace.  It wasn’t the ideal work situation and I felt very uncomfortable from day one.  I struggled to engage others and since my job was completely different than everyone else, it was somewhat hard to feel like I belonged. 
My initial overtures were met with roadblocks so I tried to find a way to cope.
One of the ways I coped was to make sure I had my Ipod with me and I would listen to music while doing paperwork or when I was by myself to distract me from anxiety and that awkward feeling.  Even though it was never an ideal workplace I stuck with it and eventually I struck some kind of balance with getting to know and getting along with others.  As I became more comfortable I didn’t carry my ipod (although I always had it playing in my office – still do come to think about it) and interacted more with everyone.

My current supervisor was telling me that she and another worker thought I was so unfriendly (which honestly is not a word used to describe me much) and that I thought I was better than them because I would sit and listen to my music rather than be open for people to interact with me. 

I wonder how often people make judgments – believing the worst about people – rather than giving them the benefit of the doubt.   I felt uncomfortable, not unfriendly and didn’t feel welcome – not thinking I was better than my coworkers.  It seems like they were unsure about me and had a negative experience with the past person in my position so they also assumed the worst about me.  How much smoother my transitions into the job have gone if all of us had given the other the benefit of the doubt?  It seems like a wasted opportunity because if initial if we had believed the best intentions from the other person the relationship may have been much more positive.
There are situations where you shouldn’t give the benefit of the doubt such as harm or victimization of another but in everyday scenarios why don’t we believe the best about others.
It is so easy to apply our own insecurities and concerns onto other’s behaviors.  We filter their behavior through our expectations.  Next time you are interpreting someone’s behaviors, consider giving them the benefit of the doubt and see how much better the situation may go.
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