Assuming others' good intent increases trust and effectiveness. Instead of interpreting "negative" actions as attempts at manipulation, insult, or power-play, we choose to believe people are doing the best they can and look for underlying values or needs in common. Searching for a better story, we find or create one.
This is closely related to "unconditional positive regard".
Cautions & Caveats: If taken too far, this pattern could prevent an appropriate response to bad behaviour. Be ready to set appropriate boundaries as needed.
Good Faith Assumptions points primarily to:
Other patterns Good Faith Assumptions also points to (secondarily):
Patterns that point primarily back at Good Faith Assumptions
Other patterns that also point back at Good Faith Assumptions (reverse secondaries):
Category and tags
Personal Stories about Good Faith Assumptions
Each card listed here has at least one relevant story. Add your own stories in Anonymous+Personal Stories.
I see a distinction here that I have found to be very helpful. For the sake of explaining it, I will use the terms "good faith" and "good intentions" but I am not attached to those terms, just using them to make the distinction.
Someone can act in bad faith, e.g. intending to manipulate me, and still at root have good intentions. Perhaps they are lying to me about something they're selling so that I will pay more for it, but they are ultimately doing this to make enough money to pay their rent. (Even if it's something "worse" -- to get their drug fix, or satisfy their pride by winning salesperson of the month, I can connect to good intentions behind those - wanting ease / self-acceptance, wanting positive self-regard). I can believe (or even know if they tell me) that someone is consciously doing me ill, and still find their underlying good intentions.
This is helpful for me because it seems more realistic than assuming people are never mean, deceitful, etc. (they sometimes are), while inviting me even in those cases to inquire into what underlying motive they had that I would resonate with.
A further point is about the truth of this belief. The idea that people always act/speak at root from a benevolent motive is central in many processes. The one of these most that I am most familiar with is Nonviolent Communication, and in one introduction I led someone asked if it was really true that people always at root have good intent. I have two answers to this. On the one hand, it doesn't matter -- if you pretend that it is true, and look for good intent, you will more and more often be able to find it, and you will be able to connect with people more easily, and simply enjoy life more.
That said, my experience is that in this as with other core beliefs, actually believing it makes it substantially more powerful. Of course you can't make yourself believe anything, but if that's where you want to get to,"fake it til you make it" can actually help. In this case for example, the more often you are able to find good intent, the more believable this idea will become.
--John Abbe.....Sat Dec 11 16:30:21 -0800 2010