I have experienced too many times and have heard from so many other people about conversations that went inexplicably wrong. You may meet someone, have a conversation, even by text or email, and all of a sudden with tremendous ease and agility that you had no idea you possessed, your foot ended up in your mouth.
Everything is going really well, and all of a sudden one word, or one sentence gets misinterpreted and taken in a totally different way than was intended. Often it was something said in jest or even totally innocent without any sense of value on the part of the speaker, but it is taken as something very negative and just sets them off.
Their imagination twisted what you said in some way that it implies or indicates that you are a horrible, nasty or different person, and that is it, its over. I have gone into this principle in another article called Understanding Words, and small ebook entitled; Eliminating Anger, if you would like further reading.
It’s hard enough to meet people you like and can talk to, but these out of the blue cut-offs become a tremendous frustration, enough to the point of turning one to become a total recluse, as many people do.
After enough of this, you eventually get too scared to say anything. Now you may become inhibited or repressed, and that is certainly no help.
The fact that people will pick on one word and instead of asking for clarification, ‘what did you mean?’ ‘what are you trying to say?’, they immediately take the negative reaction and destroy an existing relationship or a new one before it begins.
What frustrates me even more than this is that people can be so stupid that they do not realize what they are doing and continually destroy their chances for new relationships and friendships instead of simply pausing when you feel something is not right or you did not like what was said and ask; ‘what did you mean’ before retaliating with an attack or cutting the person off.
It is so simple to avoid so many conflicts. How many times have you either been involved in an email or text conversation that has gone bad and you were rejected and cut off, or, you were the one who got upset by something you read.
Wouldn’t life be so much better if we did not react with these strong emotions and lash out instead of just asking for clarification.
The reason people do not do this is because when you receive a message and take it in some negative connotation, your ego wants to defend itself. In other words, if you thought that person is a bad person because of what they said, and get angry and lash out at them, you do not want to admit you are wrong.
“I know exactly what he meant.” As soon as anyone says that, you know the ego is in control and will not admit you are wrong, which you often are if you would investigate further.
Your ego does not want to admit it was wrong so it will not have to apologize. We do not want to admit we are wrong and the true fault lies within you.
The solution is that any time you get angry about anything, before you respond or at least as soon as possible after, you must say, ‘I did not understand.’ Eventually it becomes an instantaneous habit and you never get upset, but that takes time and work on yourself.
Say this first to yourself and then to the other person. Not; ‘I didn’t like that.’ No, your ego must be tamed; ‘I didn’t understand, please explain what you mean’, is very different.
Then be open minded enough to accept that you were probably wrong in your interpretation and that is the key to opening the door to your heart and a very different life. To accept that you were completely wrong about what you thought was so clear, and now you have to change your way of dealing with that person, is the mark of a mature adult.
The most important point to remember is; ‘since when are you so perfect?’
Just for fun, as a little exercise, try this. Add up events in the past, and start keeping count from here on in about how many times did you get angry or any negative emotion from something you read; email, chat, text, any message at all that you read. Let’s start with what we read before we tackle masting what we heard the person say.
Now, think about this. If you never got angry at any of those times, how would your life be different? How many more friends would you have that you never got to know. Imagine what things you may have missed in your life, that you will never know what could have been.