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Teaching children to give others the benefit of the doubt is good parenting. Adults who give their neighbors and co-workers the benefit of the doubt are better citizens and lead happier lives than those who don’t.
Ordinary interaction between people is often subject to misinterpretation. Did that person rudely cut in front of me or did she think I wasn’t in line? Was I given a lousy seat because the hostess didn’t like me or was it a compliment that she thought I could add some life to the table with the dull in-laws? Was my boss intentionally ignoring me when we passed on the sidewalk or did he truly not notice me?