Don’t Be Too Quick to Assume Someone Else’s Thoughts and Intentions

You are not a mind reader

Brian Tubbs
2 min readOct 1, 2023
Two people have a pleasant conversation at a cafe — image generated via MidJourney

David Hume once wrote:

“It is impossible to know for sure what goes on in another person’s mind. We can only make inferences based on their behavior.”

While it’s appropriate — sometimes necessary — to make such inferences, we must nevertheless remain open to new information and insights. And acknowledge we can sometimes be wrong.

In other words, we must remain humble — especially when it comes to how we view other people’s thoughts and intentions.

I see very little such humility today.

Part of the problem is that people are generally more interested in venting their opinions than they are in listening or learning. As was said 3,000 years ago…

A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself. (Proverbs 18:2, KJV)

And even when people take the time to engage, it’s often in a reactive rather than reflective spirit.

When our interests, agendas, tribe(s), or quality of life are (in any way) threatened (whether…