“People will rely on assumptions and quick judgements about you until they take the time to get to know you. That’s a natural part of how our brains process information. But if you ask the right questions and take the time to listen, you might just learn something about someone that contradicts everything that you thought you knew about them. Let your first assumption be that they’re human and let them tell you the rest..."
As I finished writing this in a coffee shop, I sparked a conversation with this guy, Austin, next to me. He’s around my age and happens to be homeless due to certain life circumstances growing up. I enjoyed our conversation. He talked about how he’s excited to one day have the means to figure out what clothes he likes and not just wear what he has.
Then I noticed a group of people our age at a table were laughing and staring. As soon as my conversation with Austin ended he left and a guy from that table approached me and asked if I needed to be walked to my car... While I appreciate someone taking the time to be concerned for my safety, they assumed that because of Austin’s appearance, I was being harassed. I politely declined the offer and instead told him that I enjoyed my conversation; that their assumptions of Austin were wrong and that he wasn’t harassing me.
I informed him that Austin struggled with homelessness and finally had someone to talk to him without judging him simply for the clothes he was wearing. He went back to his table and shared this with his friends, who immediately expressed pity and regret for laughing at what they thought was a pathetic attempt to flirt with me. I’m not perfect and make assumptions frequently, but this is a perfect reminder look at people as human and listen to their side of the story. You’re mission is great, just wanted to share a moment of being human with other humans in action