The Dangers of Miscommunication and Assumptions

Today, I write this blog in the midst of feelings of peace, and tranquility. Yes, you guessed it, my family problems were resolved. It turned out to be a huge case of miscommunication and assumptions.

We all know what it’s like to get into a crazy fight over text or social media where, somehow, an innocent sentence or two caused confusion. Back in the day, there was snail mail, telephone calls, and get togethers that were imperative for family relations. Nowadays, we don’t have to leave our sofa, desk, or car to communicate with someone.

Sure, the breakout of these hand-sized electronic wonders we call cell phones and tablets has lifted the convenience factor through the roof, but one thing even emoji have issues helping us with is conveying the proper emotions to help the receiver to fully grasp and understand what was said, since the language we speak and the language we write are completely different.

For instance, you type in something such as: “Just an F.Y.I., you left your phone on the counter this morning.” Sounds simple enough, right? Well, what if this had been a reason for anger? You could use the same sentence in another context to convey your anger over a stupid mistake. If the emotion is not properly conveyed, it could be taken as something mean, whereas it was really a simple matter.

Sure, you can add an emoji to help with that sentence, but what if the text/message was received by an old phone that does not register the emoji? Then you have a problem. Sadly, communication barriers can also be created by cell phone message hiccups as well, such as splitting long-winded messages, and jumbling them up. Like Android phones, for instance, tend to break up paragraphs, and jumble them up, sending and receiving at different times. Or, the person typing the message could be misspelling, or mistyping a message, causing some confusion.

Sadly, even talking face to face can be confusing, depending on how well a person’s communication skills and diplomacy are; some poor folks just lack tact, or come from a different background, and have different sayings for things. Confusion abounds whenever people assume they know the message, and run with those assumptions, instead of questioning what’s being conveyed.

It’s like asking for directions while on a trip, for instance. There are those, both men and women, who hate bucking down and asking where something is at, hence the birth of GPS, which can also miscommunicate and get us into trouble. Therefore, sadly, there’s always room for error, and cause for confusion somewhere down the line. Why is that, you ask? Because our minds are different. None of us truly think alike, and not all machines communicate the same. There are so many factors, and so many outcomes in communications that there are bound to be issues somewhere down the line; Murphy’s law, I guess you could say.

It’s a pain, yes, and that’s why the advice for everyone, is don’t be afraid to question what you heard. Even if a retort is the response, you should always ask if something doesn’t sound right. Also, trusting the person you’re receiving the message from is a big factor. What do you know about the person? Does what you received or heard sound normal to their speech? Would that be out of character for that person? These are questions that are completely valid to ask ones self. Because people try to take on matters without consideration these days, which makes it easier to have issues communicating, resulting in fights, and break-ups.

I am in no way a communications expert; however, this stuff can be very simple to understand. So, before you think you know what your sister is talking about when she sends a text spelling out that her underwear walked out the door last night, ask her what she meant before your mind runs away with thinking that she’s crazy.

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