"Did I miss you? Were you there?"
It all flashed before me as I read the incriminating email on my phone late last night.
A few days ago, a good friend invited me to a special sit-down event to honor people making a difference in our community. I was very honored by the invitation, responded positively, put it on my calendar for Wednesday, and at our family meeting Sunday evening I rearranged some other commitments to be able to attend. I even set out some nice clothes to be ready.
Tuesday afternoon he sent me an email with a different location for the event. I checked my calendar to make sure of the date, updated the appointment, and replied with "Got it - thanks and will see you there soon :o)" Wow, I thought, he is really on top of things to give me a heads-up a day early! Of course in my "soon" I meant later in the week. I'm certain he read it differently.
Until I got his message Tuesday evening - after the event - I didn't realize I had a nasty case of confirmation bias. That is, I interpreted all the inputs through my own firm belief that I had the event on the right day - without even realizing I was doing so.
My small mistake mushroomed quickly into something completely unintended - a potential communication of disrespect and abandonment of my friend and his gift.
The good news is that - besides reconciling with my friend - having this mistake on my mind since yesterday has given me a deeper set of questions:
If my mindset about something as small as when an event occurs could impact me and others in a pretty big way, what other biases do I have that I don't even know about that are potentially impacting my life and others? How will I know that I'm missing important information because of assumptions I don't even realize I've made? Am I letting important information spill outside my mental cup?
How do you think confirmation bias might be sneaking up on you?