A boarding school. Class five. Games are compulsory between 4 to 5.30. Walking to the hostel after playing football. There is the principal sitting on a chair with several boys lined up in front of him. Must be distributing pocket money which he could not give on Sunday. Joins the line, oops, the guys are getting caned. What is it for ? These guys bunked game and were caught hiding. Oh then, I should not be here because I have been playing football for past one and half hours. Get back into the line. But I have been playing. tell it to the princi, when your turn comes. Sir, I was playing football. Never mind, bend please, whack, whack. Tears more for the hurt than physical. Too young to understand, a punishment for sincerity!!!.
The incident stayed in the mind. Made sense , much later in life. Misunderstanding is a fact of life. Learn to be misunderstood. There may be times when you are rewarded for something you have not done and you will not complain. Another time when someone else will be rewarded for your deed and you will crib. Everything evens out in the long run. Most of the time, It may not be worth clearing the misunderstanding, the effort and time, the arguments that goes with it, the ill effect on the relationship..better, move on.
A boss’s misunderstanding can affect your appraisal and your career… well, may not be career, another misunderstanding may cover that up in the future.
A relationship , that do not give you a chance to clarify, deserves a closure. If they understood it right and you acted wrong, then better, an apology and hope for the best.
Misunderstandings generally ends up in arguments and fights.
Understanding how they happen will go a long way to improve relationships.
Communication is generally through words, body language and actions. The mismatch of intention and interpretation results in misunderstanding.
You did not hear what he said, you heard what she did not say, made your own interpretation of what was said, you thought you said it but did not, ah ! look at the body language how can you be so insensitive (they do not know, your ribs are broken and you can’t move).
Pause, think of the possibilities, even if you are convinced (I know you are always right), your communication could have lacked certain information, took things for granted, what ever… take responsibility.
I asked you for 3 reports, where is the utilisation report.?
No, sir, you asked only for two, you did not ask for utilisation.
What, you mean I am lying.
No sir, may be you had it in your mind but forgot to mention it.
I mentioned it, you did not hear it, not attentive
No, Sir (you should have said Yes Sir)
So, I am a lier , a forgetful creature and what else,
OK, in that case you could have checked with me and asked me to confirm whether I need utilisation report, you could have been proactive.
Sorry, sir, I will get it right away. (that’s better, before your appraisal gets fixed with a few more nails)
Another expertise we have is in reading body language. Some people do it well most of the time, but not always, others do it wrong most of the time, which leads to a misunderstanding.
I was practicing oil therapy, two spoons of oil in my mouth for 20 minutes, every day in the morning which I finally spit it out. During a session ( a quiet one), my neighbour Ramkrishna shouted a BIG good morning with a big wave.I waved at him, gently.
I heard him tell his wife in Tamil, this menon guy is avoiding and is not happy to see me.
Body language, body language.
My friend and colleague, Jain, came on a tour to our regional office from the head office.
I saw him after an year since his transfer to the head office.
First trip, almost a year.
No, second one, I was here six months ago.
What, how come we did not meet ?
Ya, come to think of it.. we did not meet, actually, I forgot about you.
That was an honest answer. He grew in my esteem and made me feel good. Until then, in his place, I would have told a hundred lies. There was a lesson learnt. We all forget and miss out, just say it. Your well wisher will understand, others can go to hell.