How to Deal With Misunderstanding?

You texted or said something and it blew out of proportion. Then you find yourself in a hot seat or a heated argument for a slight misunderstanding.

How many times you’ve been through this? Do you still remember the feeling? How did you deal with it?

Misunderstanding is like a viper just waiting to strike you when you’re unaware.

Here are some ways you can do when misunderstood.

1. Clarify.

A person could say one thing but mean something. You may have it right in your intention and meaning, you may have used the right word, but something just went wrong. The recipient couldn’t just interpret it right.

If you hear or see something wrong in the way the listener react to your statement, make some clarification. That’s why speakers sometimes say, “Don’t misunderstand me.” Then they make some clarification on what might be the wrong interpretation of what they have to say.

You may explain the meaning or use an illustration to point out what you really mean. At best, you may ask the particular question to get a specific answer if they get want you mean.

2. Correct.

Misunderstanding is a failure to correctly interpret one’s word or action. You may be using the same word, but the meaning differs to the hearer or observer. Your well-meaning words could be taken out of context.

Don’t be defensive immediately. What you have in mind might have been interpreted wrongly. Your message is right but the method may be wrong. There are many possibilities why your words or action to be misinterpreted.

If you think what you really meant was lost in interpretation, make a correction. Find out where it went wrong. Straighten the facts.

3. Communicate Properly.

In all these years of interacting with other people, I have confirmed that failure to communicate leads to failure to interpret. It means most misunderstanding is caused by miscommunication.

Nobody wants to miscommunicate unless it is intentional to deceive or trick someone. Likewise, if the hearer intends to misinterpret you just to provoke or make you appear bad, that’s beyond your control.

Failure to understand correctly is very possible especially if the person listening does not really want to understand you. As Proverbs said, “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.”

But even then, when the hearer refuses to accept your true meaning, still, you have to communicate properly.

The fact remains that when you communicate to be understood, you have to use the right words for the right meaning.

Your context must be clear and your explanation must be sufficient to convey the exact message.

By the time you’ve started to communicate well, you will see how people respond to your message and catch the meaning of your words and actions. Speak clearly and don’t obscure the meaning if you want to be understood.

Glenn Plastina (c) 2017


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