I teach Physical Education at a private school in the mornings. I was teaching and playing kickball outside with my 9 and 10 year old students.
As we were walking back to the school building Mary walked up next to me and told me that Jane was mad at her. “How do you know that?” I asked. “She looks kind of mad or something,” answered Mary.
“Gee,” I said to myself. I do this and I certainly see the same happening to my clients: making assumptions. I suggested that she find Jane and ask her if there was anything wrong. She did and a few minutes later Mary came running back to me to tell me that Jane was sad because her mom was out of town. Jane asked Mary if she could play after school!
Here is the powerful point. Ask before making assumptions to avoid misinterpretations and self projections.