Friday, August 30, 2013

Are You Misunderstood...?

   Chances are that at some point you have been, and will be again. It’s just a part of the human interaction and since everyone isn’t always on the same page, sometimes not even in the same book, misunderstandings happen. Sometimes it’s easy to identify the issue, but at other times whole conversations can happen and it go unnoticed, that the subject was never agreed upon.

   “Wait...are we talking about the same thing?”

   Perhaps you’ve heard someone say this or experienced it yourself? You’re having a conversation and everything is going well when a word or expressed idea triggers a heightened sense of awareness and you realize that something doesn’t a piece of a puzzle, that upon further examination, doesn’t quite match, but matched well enough to blend with a bit if applied force.

   With so many words sounding the same, but having various meanings...mixed with the interpretations and intentions of the various personalities that emerge in conversation, it’s a miracle we can communicate at all. Blessed is the person that can effectively realize that the conversation they are in, isn’t the conversation they are having. It’s happened to me on more than one occasion, but I haven’t always been fortunate enough to realize it before the tone and mood of the moment has shifted in a decidedly negative direction.

   As bad as that gets worse.

   It’s bad enough that misunderstandings happen just by sheer bad luck and the butchering...and proper use, of the English language, but the issue is compounded when you come across someone that understands you, but is willfully ignorant of that fact. Instead of an acknowledgment and moving the conversation forward, they would rather feign ignorance and stagnate the dialogue...usually for their own nefarious purposes.

   “Let me be clear”

   Indeed, I find myself saying that much these days. I’m sure most take it as an intended precursor to my explaining something in the simplest terms with clear emphasis on the intended points. Little do they know I’m really asking them to let my words slip through the thickness of their skulls. See what I mean? I’m misunderstood (clearly) but choose not to correct the point for the sake of moving the conversation forward.

   It’s even worse when communicating through social media...ala Facebook. I’ve become the type to cut and paste things already said, to emphasize the relevance of my retort. Not only that...but you’d be surprised how many people have no clue what they are saying and are oblivious to the fact that their thoughts have not made it to the screen...despite typing a flurry of words intended for that purpose. Somehow...seeing it again (through cut and paste) gives some clarity.

   Effective communication is the key to unlocking more meaningful and rewarding human interactions...miscommunication is the deadbolt that keeps us separated from our true meanings, and the rewards that often accompany clarity.

   Are you misunderstood? A question you should often ask yourself. Are you understanding? An equally important question that also needs to be asked
   The old adage “Say what you mean and mean what you say” could use a bit of updating. Added to that should be “...and make sure you understand, and are being understood.”

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