It’s something we are all guilty of but may not know when we are doing it. It happens anytime we don’t take the time to ask direct questions or make assumptions when we don’t understand or agree with an answer or decision.
What Is A False Narrative?
Let’s say you call, email, or text a friend who always calls back ASAP—but this time they don’t. So, you make an assumption that they are mad at you, or intentionally ignoring you. You replay or reread your last few exchanges. You get all worked up. A week later they call you back and say they had the flu. The story you created was false.
The Danger Of False Narratives
While the example above is easy to resolve, sometimes the situation is a bit more complex. For example, you don’t understand why your friend has made a major decision—one you would not make for yourself or don’t think they should do. So, you create a story about why and what it must mean. The problem is that the story you create centers around what you need to believe to make things make sense—but it’s not about you. Where things get really tricky is when you forget that the story you created is your assumption, not reality. Things can really go awry when you share your false narrative with others.
We have all done it a million times and are sure to do it again, but we can lessen the frequency of false narratives by viewing each person as an individual instead of a stereotype—and taking their words at face value.