I’m a writer by passion and purpose. This, for me, means that words matter. Every word you put into the universe matters. It will have some effect on someone or something—no matter how small. If that wasn’t true, then cyber bullying wouldn’t be such an issue these days and no one would ever need to say “I love you.” So, it’s important that we are cognizant of the words we use and how we use them. Unless you don’t mind being in a constant state of misunderstanding.
Now, I annoy my friends (and partner) with my incessant need to clarify words and what I mean. I’ve been known to say things like: “I’m not angry, I’m just upset” or “I’m anxious, not really nervous.” Those emotions, while synonymous, are not identical and mean very different things for me. However, people often bypass the importance of words as if we don’t misinterpret text messages ALL the time. These days it’s super hard to fully understand someone via written interactions that don’t offer the benefit of visual or sensory nuances. Just don’t be annoying about it like me—really. Your friends and spouse will hate it!
All you have is your word, just remember, every word means something different to every person.
Throughout this blog, you will see me define words or give concepts clear definitions because it is important to me that we are on the same page. We may never reach real understanding without sometimes addressing the pesky gradations in our verbiage (#SAT words). For instance, we all have that says “I’m 5minutes away” and we know that means, if we’re lucky, she might be getting out of the shower. But I have another friend who says “I’m 5 minutes away” and will probably be there in 2.5.
At the end of the day, the words we use require more than just face value for understanding. That’s why serious conversations can turn into serious conflict when attempted via text. Some people are very literal and when they are pissed off and say it—that’s what they mean. Others are hot headed and when they say they are pissed off—they are mildly upset at best. The trick is LISTENING with all your senses and being open to whatever that person means in that moment. Sometimes, that may mean asking for clarity to see if your understanding matches their intention.
SO, who is responsible for ensuring understanding?
It depends. When two people believe in listening then you can share the weight. Unfortunately, some people are just poor communicators and in that case clarity falls to you. It may not be fair, but it IS the truth. If you desire honest, open and beneficial communication you must… (warning: cliché alert):