Understanding and Misunderstanding

21 Jul

There are millions of articles in the web regarding understanding, misunderstanding and making others understand.  In my opinion understanding or misunderstanding also involves trusting the other party in the conversation.  If you think that the other party is offending you in some way or being inappropriate then – if you trust the person you will pause for a moment; give the other person benefit of doubt and possibly ask for a clarification.  Most likely it will be a play of words that is leading to the negative feeling and will be clarified in an instant taking the trust of both the parties higher.

However in cases wherein there is a trust deficit then instead of reflecting and asking for a clarification you will jump on the incorrect play of words and accuse the other person directly (or worst silently in your mind) and the future interactions between the two people will be with enhanced mistrust.

Let me quote one example for each of the following –

Trust : Once a close friend and colleague of mine was confiding in me that she will start coming to work early henceforth.  I retorted saying that – “I don’t think you can.”.  She reflected (with a grim face) for a while and asked “Why do you say that?”. To which I responded you have very late night calls and hence it will be difficult for you to wake up early.  She said yes – u r right.

Mistrust:  I was talking to my garbage lady and asking her how does she manage to handle the “stink” of her job.  She responded saying that she does not “drink”.  (In my native language inhaling a smell and drinking a liquid have a similar verb.).  Then I had to explain myself saying I was referring to the stink and why would it be any of my business to speculate about her drinking habits.

Hmmm … food for thought – don’t you think so?  Do you have similar examples.  Do tell me in the comments below.

3 Responses to “Understanding and Misunderstanding”

  1. Lesson Plans For Life July 21, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    I experience this all the time with certain family members and have incorporated this idea in some of my posts. One titled “Over-Interpreting” comes to mind, in particular. Giving the other person the benefit of the doubt and not reading intent into the other person’s question or statement is very difficult for a lot of people. And I think one of the key factors has to do with how good of a listener you are. If you are really listening and not thinking about what you are going to say and are open to hearing the other out rather than make assumptions, that makes a big difference. Another post titled “Being A Good Listener” is also coming to mind.


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