Words are all we have
So, tell me, are you also sometimes accused of being wrong / rude / obstructive / insensitive / etc when you are not (in our own mind)? Are you like millions of people who say things with the best of intentions, only to be shot down in flames because the other person didn’t understand you?
Worse, are you on the other side of that fence: Are you maybe the person making the wrong assumptions. Only hearing a little bit and then embellishing the rest to suit your own version? And often getting it wrong? The cartoon on the left made me smile and it also links to my own previous experience (When things are not what we think they are [click here]).
Between husband and wife this happens all the time and I came across this lovely writing by Peter Bregman at How to Avoid (and Quickly Recover from) Misunderstandings [click here] – cuties!
They say the best marriage is between a blind wife and a deaf husband.
Of course, triggering some more thoughts on this subject I received a joke by e-mail that many of you must have heard before:
A man feared his wife wasn’t hearing as well as she used to, and he thought she might need a hearing aid (typical male – ed). Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family doctor to discuss the problem. The Doctor told him there is a simple informal test the husband could perform to give the doctor a better idea bout her hearing loss.
“Here’s what you do,” said the Doctor, “stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking ask her a question and see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet , then 20 feet , and so on until you get a response..”
That evening, the wife is in the kitchen cooking dinner, and he was in the den. He says to himself, “I’m about 40 feet away, let’s see what happens.” Then in a normal tone he asks, ‘Honey, what’s for dinner?”
So the husband moves closer to the kitchen, about 30 feet from his wife and repeats, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”
Still no response.
Next he moves into the dining room where he is about 20 feet from his wife and asks, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”
Again he gets no response.
So, he walks up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away. “Honey, what’s for dinner?” Again there is no response.
So he walks right up behind her. “Honey, what’s for dinner?”
“Ralph,… for the FIFTH time … CHICKEN!”
– ! ?
Many times when I was doing the accusing and I knew I was right, did I find out afterwards that much trouble could have been avoided by simply understanding the other person before fighting.
And I could have kept my dignity intact.