mvervinck

March 15, 2013

Misunderstandings

Filed under: Uncategorized — mvervinck @ 8:28 pm

The meaning of the words I have written is not always what is understood by the reader of those very same words.  These are the times when I think what I have written is perfectly clear, but for some reason or other, the person reading these exact words misinterprets them and takes them in a way in which they were never intended.  To me, I am being very clear; however, to the reader, I am not.  

This happens to everyone.  I wonder if it happens even more today since we seem to communicate a lot more now in writing than we have ever before in human history?  Think about it.  We write our ideas as posts to blogs, comments to social media posts, and text messages to friends.  We don’t call each other on a phone anymore; instead, we send text messages to communicate.  Think about how much text you read today!  It is an amazing amount of words that we take in each day.  It makes sense then that part of what we read we misinterpret.  The only time we discover this is when someone posts a comment to something we have written or emails a nasty reply, and the return information doesn’t make sense.  I wonder how much is misinterpreted that we never even know about.

Not to change the subject but…Writing and reading are important!  People, no matter what their profession, need to know how to write to communicate, and they need to be able to comprehend what they read.  I can’t imagine life without being able to read and write.  Even if I may not always understand what I read and jump to the wrong conclusions (or the people who read what I have written jump to the wrong conclusions), at least, we are communicating.  Misunderstandings or not, at least we are communicating.

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7 Comments »

  1. I think of how I sometimes read an email and think, “Are they really upset with me?” or “Do they realize how snippy that sounds?” But until I read your post I never really considered that we “communicate more in writing.than we ever have before” So true.

    Comment by Cyndy McKenzie — March 15, 2013 @ 9:23 pm | Reply

  2. I have gotten myself in trouble multiple times by misreading or misinterpreting what someone has written. In the written language, we cannot hear the voice inflections that often cue us in tone and mood. I need to learn to reread and reread before I hit send.

    Comment by margaretsmn — March 15, 2013 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  3. The reader always bring understanding to a text that shapes the meaning. It is quite disconcerting to be on the sending end of a text, though.

    Comment by Kay McGriff (@kaymcgriff) — March 16, 2013 @ 12:11 am | Reply

  4. I think family and friends feel very vulnerable when they read incidents in print about their. They overlay what they think they hear, not necessarily what you meant to say.

    I have unintentionally caused great pain to a family member. Now I am quite cautious about what I publish for public reading.

    Comment by Ruth Chandler Ferris — March 16, 2013 @ 12:20 am | Reply

    • I am sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, I think we have all done something similar to that. Ways of communicating with each other are changing and while we change and adapt to them, mistakes will be made.

      Comment by mvervinck — March 16, 2013 @ 2:13 am | Reply

  5. I have an older neighbor who refuses to communicate by email for just that reason, and I can see the point. Of course, I love having the means to communicate fairly quickly with people when I can, which is not always at an appropriate time to call. It’s frustrating to have family member who aren’t on email systems that I can never seem to remember to contact until after bedtime…

    Comment by Christine Margocs (@cmargocs) — March 16, 2013 @ 3:09 pm | Reply


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