Miscommunication is rife. Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and found yourself thinking, “Did they really just say that?” I bet most of us have at some point.
But what’s really going on in your mind when you ask that question? Are you doubting the words spoken, or is it about the meaning you’ve attached to those words? You see, in any conversation, it’s not just the words themselves but also the meanings we give them that matter. Let me give you an example: asking someone if they’re pregnant. It’s often considered a social no-no because the hidden message it carries is, “I think you’ve gained weight.” Now, in reality, you might not be thinking that at all, but that’s where some people’s minds jump.
Miscommunication is that easy.
This isn’t unique to just pregnancy conversations. It happens in our day-to-day chats, even with ex-partners. Think back to when you and your ex were together. Remember the times they told you they were running late? The first time it happened, you probably took it in stride, maybe even justified it to yourself somehow. Now, if they tell you the same thing, how do you react? Does frustration creep in? The message is consistent, but the context and the meaning you attach to it have shifted. And that’s not wrong; it’s just different.
Miscommunication is a daily occurrence all around the world, and guess what? We can’t entirely eliminate it because, well, we’re human. But here’s the thing: when you start feeling frustrated or angry during a conversation, take a moment to ask yourself why. What exactly did they say, and what did you hear? When you find yourself in this situation, one of the best things you can do is echo back to them what you heard to ensure you understood correctly.
For instance, if your ex calls to say they’re running late to pick up the kids, don’t immediately jump to conclusions that they’re late because they don’t care about your plans or the kids’ feelings. Instead, ask a question like, “So, if I heard you right, you’re running late because…?” Then, give them the chance to clarify. It might turn out there was a traffic accident, an unexpected work meeting, or simply life getting in the way.
You might never get the full answer, but chances are, it’ll be different from the story you’re telling yourself. Communication is a tricky business, but taking a moment to understand each other can work wonders in avoiding unnecessary misunderstandings.
If you want help with this come and join my next webinar where we will go through all of this.