So there's usually that scenario where you misinterpret what someone is saying too positively, for example a girl says yes to a statement, and you think it means she accepted the intent behind the statement, et cetera. I found overread but there doesn't seem to be a generally accepted definition of the word in this regard.

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    Sounds like wishful thinking: I believe something is true because that's what I am wishing. Aug 1 at 14:23
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    Wishful thinking is indeed the idiom you're looking for. Aug 1 at 14:49
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    For "overreading", the usual idiom is "reading too much into something" but it's not necessarily positive - see this question.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 1 at 16:16
  • Wishful thinking is more of thinking than overreading positively into something. Aug 1 at 16:42
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    This is clearly about sex. And it is just hearing yes or no. There is no "overhearing". And this is not at all clever.
    – Lambie
    Aug 2 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


Wishful thinking is making real life conform to your wishes. It's trusting that what you want is what you actually get, and giving no weight to the heavy fantasy element.

Wikipedia entry:

Wishful thinking is the formation of beliefs based on what might be pleasing to imagine, rather than on evidence, rationality, or reality. It is a product of resolving conflicts between belief and desire.

... Various disciplines and schools of thought examine related mechanisms such as:

  • neural circuitry
  • human cognition and emotion
  • types of bias
  • procrastination
  • motivation
  • optimism
  • attention
  • environment

This concept has been examined as a fallacy.

Some psychologists believe that positive thinking is able to positively influence behavior and so bring about better results ... called the Pygmalion effect.

In addition, similar assumptions are built into the expressions "I must have been reading too much into it" and "Sorry for putting words in your mouth."

  • I was actually hoping this was a thing, most people respond to these kind of situations with 'can I take that as a yes'.. When you take it as a yes without permission and the other takes offence, and you're appealing, how do you say what your offence is in an easy way. Aug 2 at 8:51

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