Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I didn't mean it like that...

Have you ever thought you said something one way, but what you said came out totally wrong? I can't begin to explain how often this happens to me. One of the reasons I write, and the primary reason why I prefer to talk to people through written language is that I'm much better at explaining things (and myself) through paper. Writing, as easy as that is for me, contrasts my love of public speaking. I suppose I am careful enough with my words that I feel comfortable telling them to a crowd 20,000 people.

But when you put me in a room with four or five of my friends, the words come out differently than I intend. Sometimes, the words tumble upon themselves and the proper inflections get put on the incorrect words. Once in a while, I'll say something like, "I disagree." I will hear, "I disagree, would you like to open that line of conversation up for discussion?" They hear, "I disagree, you're wrong, and your opinions are all crap."

Of course I don't believe anyone has bad opinions. I am comfortable being around people who have opinions that differ from my own. And I'd never tell anyone they were wrong or bad without also giving them a reason as to why I believe the way I do.

I think people misinterpret my questions as defiance. Always skeptical of people, situations, and what I'm seeing, I ask many questions. If I ask, "Why?" I'm generally asking you to further clarify what you're saying rather than being one of those brats that asks "Why?" just because.

I also think people misunderstand my succinct style for indifference or lacking compassion. I don't like to talk to much, and I try hard to avoid talking too much, babbling on and on for no good reason. Sure, sometimes I get on a roll and the words come out quickly and without hesitation--those are the good moments, and often the funny ones. Other times, I'm quiet and don't know the right words. Sometimes I purposely don't say anything, because nothing I can say can possibly help a situation. I try not to give unsolicited advice, too.

Short with people, yes. Terse, sometimes. Outright bitchy... that takes effort, and while I can do it, I don't enjoy it. I'm working on being less blunt and more wordy, but this kind of growth takes time. I've come a long way already. I still need to work on it a lot more.

But this whole communication thing would be so much easier if everyone stopped making assumptions and started asking more questions.

That's my rant for the day, thank you, please drive through.

No comments: