I Love Misunderstanding

~A man telephoned the airline office and asked, “How long does it take to fly to Boston?”  The clerk said, “Just a minute…”  – “Thank you,” the man said and hung up.

A friend of mine thinks the word “misunderstanding” is one of the most beautiful words in the English language and I agree.

“We had a misunderstanding” is a great example of harmonious communication because it does not place blame on the speaker or the person the speaker is referring to.

misunderstanding cartoon

Do you want to see communication between two people quickly escalate into war?  Just accuse them of something and they will plug their ears with sound-proof cotton balls and draw their swords.  Every other word you say will be sliced in half like Fruit Ninja before it even reaches them.

Our natural instinct is to protect ourselves if we feel attacked,  followed by our own attack to eliminate the threat.

Rather than saying, “you got my order wrong!”, which is riddled with attacks, try “I think there was a misunderstanding with my order.”   Cotton balls will remain in the waiter’s pocket, sword will remain in the scabbard, and your correct order will be coming right up.

“I think there was a misunderstanding” says we both attempted to communicate but it appears the mark was missed, let’s try again.

Pragmatic people keep their eye on the ball. They don’t get distracted by pretty lights, warm blankets or sounds of thunder coming from the corner of the room.  They know what they want at the end of the day, so they make sure any necessary give-and-take occurs so they can walk away with what they intended to achieve.

When you care about someone, there’s nothing more important to that relationship than to first understand, and secondly be understood, in that order.  With this mentality there will be harmony in the relationship.  And on the occasion where a stray bullet escapes, address it from the starting point that there was most likely “a misunderstanding.”  Its your bullet proof vest that will keep you and that relationship alive.

The phrase is as graceful as a beautiful, pragmatic, peacekeeping queen.  Like I said, I love Miss Understanding.


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