At best, we don’t want to be misunderstood

People are often wary about being understood because they think being understood begins with them having to share too much private information with others. However, being misunderstood is another can of worms because it begins with others thinking you are something you aren’t or that you did something you didn’t do.

In marriages, hurt feelings–and perhaps, separations and divorces–come from an unintentional cross word or something said in a fit of anger or the wrong impression given by saying something that isn’t clear.

The same thing can happen between good friends, business or club colleagues, or neighbors

In employer/employee relationships all kinds of things can happen when the employee doesn’t understand where the boss is coming from and vice versa.

What amazes me is how little it often takes for communications between people to get into a mess and how hard it is to get things out of that mess.

I suppose pride is part of it, feeling hurt is part of it, and the surprise of feeling misunderstood is part of it.  Sometimes a friend can see the problem quicker than those involved, noticing that the obvious question that should be asked isn’t getting asked and/or that the best thing either person can say isn’t being said.

This reminds me of novels and TV shows where the shit hits the fan and things never get cleared up. Readers and viewers, of course, can say, “Well, if s/he had just asked XYZ, everything would have been cleared up in a second.” When an author omits the most obvious question any sane person would ask, they’re screwing with their readers by keeping the story going long after it should have been over.

“Real life” is a bit more complex. As I say this, I think of Eric Berne (Games People Play) and his rather cynical reasoning why relationship problems that look easy (to an outsider) to fix never get fixed. Basically, people enjoy/need the uproar more than they need the serenity of a good marriage, a good friendship, or a good work environment.

In the chaos of today’s world, I’m saddened by the issues that people would rather argue about than fix/solve. Of course, the media isn’t helping. Both CNN and FOX often refuse to cover stories that don’t match their corporate agendas. This keeps a lot of people ignorant. And, it builds misunderstandings where none would exist if everyone were given the facts as news instead of opinions as news.

I wish more people would go to multiple news sites before forming an opinion about the issues of the day.  Then they would get the answers to the questions some sources never ask (but should).

Many people are being misunderstood these days because one party or the other likes it that way. I think we need a psychologist who treats political parties, PACS, think tanks, and social service groups. Then maybe we’ll find the unity people say they want while sabotaging every realistic approach to achieving it.

Maybe they can save a few marriages in the process.

–Malcolm