Exactly. First you thought it was a cat with four plastic legs. But after racing between logics and imagination in your mind, you figure out the cat was actually curling his four legs on a stool.
Imagine similar scenario happens to our workplace. You saw your colleague that you have secretly banned talking to, was shredding 3 pages of documents. While she hid herself in the shredding room, she looked around so many times. “She probably wants to make sure that nobody would see her”, you thought. Now here comes the big gossip highlight of your day–she secretly shredded someone else’s documents! You decided to tell your best friend in the office, and at the same time write an email to your other good friend at the Account Department. In fact, not only are you going to write to her, but you’re copying your 3 carpool colleagues. “Maybe even b.c.c. my husband, just for the heck of it”, you thought. So now the girl who shredded paper have officially became a person who secretly destroyed some important document because of some evil reasons behind.
The truth is, she’s shredding paper because those are really just trash, not some kind of important documents. She’s looking around because she wants to know if she can grab a staple remover nearby….so that those paper won’t stuck in the shredding machine.
Later on she heard your perspective from someone else. Inevitably, she came to you and also wrote an email, directly to you, c.c. your supervisor and her manager, b.c.c. all your department. And the war has begun!
If it took you a few seconds to realize what underneath the cat is only a stool instead of his legs, then maybe it is worthwhile to wait for a few minutes to sink down and check what had actually happened in front of you. After all, making assumptions can lead to conflicts. And why making someone else’s day miserable while it might eventually become your turn at the end?