When learning to get along with someone else, we need to avoid two very common pastimes: conclusion-jumping and keyword-listening.
For example, I’m a white, conservative, Christian (Southern Baptist, at the moment), 40-something, Texan female. This does not mean I hate homosexuals, despise the poor, whack people upside the head with my Bible, try to drag people to a baptistery, go hunting, or own a horse. In fact, none of those things are true, but different people have jumped to each of those conclusions.
Listening for keywords and jumping to the conclusions are often done to save time in our busy day. Arriving at the conclusion that I must be a deadly shot with a pistol because I live in Texas spares the listener the time it would take to find out if I actually own one. The problem comes when misconceptions develop.
The only real barrier to truth is the assumption we already have it. If we think we already know what we need to know about someone, we’re not very likely to pay attention to what really is true. Instead of assuming something is true, take the time to get to know the person. You might be surprised.