How would I respond when my sister is really grumpy and snaps at me for dropping the silverware? Am I going to tell myself that she’s a horrible sister and it would be better to stay away? Or would I guess that she had had a tough day at work and a horrible headache?
Naturally I would take the charitable route and realize that there was probably a good explanation when she seemed a little unreasonable.
If a friend at work was gruff and short with me I might try to find it what’s up… it was not his normal self.
The same attitude is deserved by a stranger. What is different between someone you don’t know and that friend at work? They may just be the neighbor you haven’t met yet.
The Reasonable Person Assumption Principle asserts that people are in general reasonable. Seemingly unreasonable behavior reasonably could have an explanation that isn’t evident but understandable.
The distracted call with the insurance company might have reached someone in the process of adopting two children in a very difficult situation. Another driver was rude because they were on the way to a wedding in an unfamiliar town.
“It isn’t personal.” “How would you like to be treated.” “You’ll have your turn.”
I don’t know what the next person is facing. When I am having a rough time, I hope my failures will not lead to scorn from those who are looking in without seeing my better days.
A civil discourse with people of a different faith, political side, race or national origin can begin when I realize that they are reasonable in the the same way that my sister and co-worker are.
I believe people in general are reasonable. Howevern it’s hard for me to see that when I am sick or angry, tired or hungry. If I want to help things build up instead off fall apart I need to look beyond my own weaknesses to look for the strength and hope, whenever it may sit.