Posted by Todd Smith
Recently I attended a party and overheard a guy trying to guess a young lady’s age. I knew trouble was brewing because I have known this gal for years and knew she looked younger than she really was. The guy guessed she was 16 years old.
When she told him she was 23, he looked “shocked” which didn’t help the situation at all. He then stuck his foot further into his mouth (probably all the way down his throat) and said, “You look so young. I bet you get carded everywhere you go.” She responded and said, “I don’t drink.” Oops!
This exchange made me think. Why do people play guessing games? Is it that they get sucked into guessing because of peer pressure? Is there an inner need to feel like they can accurately guess things? Perhaps it’s just one of those things they’ve never been taught. I learned this lesson like my friend, by sticking my foot down my throat. (I hate to admit it, but it happened more than once.)
Trying to guess someone’s age is one of those dangerous roads you don’t want to go down. You’ll most likely offend the person if you guess they are older than they look or in the case of the girl at the party, hurt her feelings because she may not want to look so young. Your lack of discretion and bad guess could also reflect poorly on you to the people watching. So the only positive that can come from accurately guessing someone’s age is that you guessed correctly.
In writing this post I considered other situations where people play guessing games. Statements like “guess how much money I make”, “guess how much I weigh”, “guess what country I’m from,” or “guess how many months she’s been pregnant” are four other examples of no win situations. In evaluating the pros and cons of this type of guessing, I believe the cons far outweigh the pros of getting the answer right.
Guess how many jelly beans are in the jar when you go to the carnival but don’t play guessing games in the rest of your life. When someone asks you to make a guess where the downside could hurt someone, just decline by saying, “I prefer not to guess.”
Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken. ~Orson Rega Card
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Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 34 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts.
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