Everyone at some point in life puts their foot in their mouth by making assumptions that can lead to awkward situations. The slip of the tongue may be completely unintentional based on what you assumed to be true, but it can be embarrassing as well as misleading just because you trusted those assumptions. Unless you are confident with all the facts, then here is how assumptions can lead to awkward situations.
Let me describe a scenario that could have happened to you. I ran into a woman that I used to go to college with. She had been drop dead gorgeous in those days that included a perfect body that possessed not an extra ounce of fat. However, when I saw she was completely changed in face and figure while surrounded by three young children clinging to their mother wearing what looked like a maternity dress. I automatically jumped to the wrong conclusion and asked when she was due. To my great shame and stupidity, she said that she was not pregnant. Though I never meant to hurt her when I asked that question, I rushed into a conclusion based on my knowledge of her from the past without knowledge of the present. What I am saying is that assumptions may be useful tools for theories and lab work, but not in the same way as they are for social interactions.
Another example of how assumptions can lead to awkward situations happened to a friend of mine. She was recently divorced and treated herself and two children to a much needed vacation. The place she stayed was a small hotel that was run by a man and his wife. Needless to say, the hotel owner said his wife went out of the country to visit her family. Without thinking, my friend said the first thing that came into her head of how nice that she left. What she meant to say was it was wonderful that his wife was able to spend time with her family and not what his apparent assumptions turned out to be. He took it as an open invitation that she was interested in him, which she definitely was not. Words can be interrupted in many different ways, especially to foreign-born Americans.
Assumptions that can lead to awkward situations also surprise you until you realize what you just said. Another woman I knew saw that someone broke into her next door neighbor’s car a day or two after the Christmas holidays. The young criminal was starting a fire in the backseat from what that woman could see from her kitchen window. She immediately called the police and her neighbor, which was good. The problem was what came next in her description of what the suspect looked like. She said that he didn’t dress like any of her friends, but was in new clothes. The neighbor teenager took it as an insult that her friends looked sloppy, but the woman meant the suspects clothes appeared brand new like he was wearing Christmas gifts.
People are human. As a result, we say stupid things at times based on assumptions that can come back to haunt us. Sometimes, it is just better to think first and speak only when you are certain of those assumptions unless you want to risk future awkward situations such as these.