There are different levels of misunderstanding, but they’re never fun to deal with. The worse part of being misunderstood is when you say something that’s taken negatively, but you didn’t really mean what you said in the way the receiver perceived it. It’s a potentially dangerous situation because feelings can get hurt, no matter how many times you explain that you didn’t mean what you said in the way the person thought you meant it.
This doesn’t always mean that the speaker is entirely in the clear. I recently had a situation where a good friend took something I said wrong, and it took me a very long time to convince her that I hadn’t meant what I said in the way she took it. It was important to me that she understand and believe me, because I care very much about preserving our friendship. In the end she said she believed me, but in the back of my mind I still wonder if everything is truly okay. Will those same words come back to haunt me one day? I can’t take them back; all I can do is continue to maintain that I didn’t mean to hurt her.
The situation did make me resolve to be more careful in the future. I have a habit of blurting things out sometimes without taking the time to think about possible consequences. Words are so powerful. It doesn’t matter in what form they leave your body — whether through your lips as spoken syllables or through your fingers for the purposes of being read — they have the power to change things. How is the other person going to interpret what you say? Even if you didn’t mean what you said negatively, there’s always a possibility it could be taken that way.
[Read the rest of this post at BlogHer]