Feeling the first drops of rain on your forearm may not be an instance you think about too often. You might have however, experienced others announce that it’s raining as they first feel those cold few drops on their skin. Since you would have felt a few drops of your own, you’d likely have already known that information. If not, then you feeling those droplets is simply a circumstance bound by time.
Individuals who announce that it’s raining when everyone else can tell it is, assume an educational role in the social circle they’re in. After confidently announcing that it’s beginning to rain after feeling a few drops, they’d be susceptible to proposing alterations to plans or actions.
A principal assumption they make in such instances, is that they’re the first ones to feel those few droplets of rain. By being vocal about something others most likely feel, see, and realize too, these individuals unintentionally hint that their observation matters more by advertising it.
By their perception, their obvious observation would be the one which needs to be heard.
In actuality, the people who announce it to be raining are not unveiling any new information to those who listen. They do however, encourage responses in others which they may not predict. The simple and innocent act of announcing what’s obvious to others may hurt them more than it aids.
This article hopes to use the example of announcing that it’s raining to dissuade you from announcing things everyone else can see.
When everyone else has the same access to evidence that you have, it seems best to not assume that you’re the first to observe that evidence. Not adopting a leadership role based on such an obvious observation seems to also be in your best interest.
Other Examples of Obvious, Universal Observations
Prior to continuing, it may be helpful to list a few examples of when people are enticed to prematurely announce observations based on limited, but publically accessible, evidence:
- “We should wait a half hour prior to leaving as traffic is probably terrible right about now.”
- “We’re going to be standing in this line for a long time. Look at how it bends around the street corner!”
- “There goes that bus, we just missed it, and it looks like we need to wait a while for another one.”
- “The sun’s setting; we won’t have enough time to mow the lawn in full today.”
The structures of the examples above all have two things in common. The first is the announcement of an obvious happening, event, or observation. The second thing they have in common is a proposed action based on the observation they’ve voiced.
Telling Them What They Already Know
By voicing your observation about it raining – or about the queue at the local burrito place being long – you insinuate that others haven’t realized that same fact. In doing so, you serve to undermine their observational skills. You’d be taking a cheap path toward having your observations be listened to, as well as leaving your listeners unimpressed with what you have to say.
You’d be saying something redundant and inconsequential. Often times, if the instance is widely seen as a negative one (long queue), you’d serve to exacerbate the negative internal dialogue which goes on in the minds of others around you.
Advertising your observation that it’s raining when others obviously know it is, encourages a reputation of not having a sense of importance to everything you say. Your act of stating the obvious too many times will develop a habit of not taking your word to be important in others.
People don’t enjoy being told what they already know without any sort of additional value tagged on. In an effort to show you that they already know the information that you’re presenting to them, their responses may not be those which you expect.
Taking the Reins You Haven’t Earned Control Of
Often times, your announcement of rain coming down is an effort to inform and guide others toward a plan which accounts for the rain coming down. In your attempt to infuse the role you hold in your social circle with leadership, you’d be enticed to use the obvious fact of it raining to introduce the ideas you have surrounding it.
You’d start off with, “Looks like the rain just started coming down,” in a perhaps uninformative attempt to introduce yourself as someone with ideas. As others pitch in with their thoughts on it raining, you’d have opened up an opportunity for you to suggest the following: “Maybe we should sit it out at that pizza place over there.”
Though the idea to sit out the rain may be a good one, your uninformative introduction would likely cause you more harm than good. Though it is a relatively minute detail in the social interactions you have with others, telling people being rained on that it’s raining does not entice them to acknowledge you as someone who has anything enlightening to say afterward.
Your good ideas which come later are slightly hurt when you state the obvious as an introduction to them.
Jump to the Idea, Not the Observation
If you have an idea surrounding the fact that it’s raining, the sun setting, or you missing the bus, jump to it right away. Assume that the ones around you know and understand the obvious happenings your good ideas are birthed from.
In your presentation of the action you propose people take, your act of skipping the obvious would make those around you feel understood. It would be an easy chance for you to communicate that you think similarly to those who are around you. You’d be providing new, unique, pieces of information surrounding the obvious event(s) in question.
People will be enticed to listen, as they too, would be mulling over the obvious on their own. They’d also be thinking of potential solutions for the fact that it’s raining. You’d be supporting them on their goal to figure out what to do in the face of rain rather than taking their attention back to the fact that it is, indeed, raining.