One of the main things that I cover in my job is communication. Without getting too specific I help people think about the words they use and how they might be perceived by others. Your intended message is sometimes completely misinterpreted by your audience and its something you have to consider and correct whenever possible. This is one of the dangers of writing this thing and for that matter anything online. You might be thinking and say the most light-hearted innocent comment but someone else will discern it as a steel toed boot to the groin.
I’ve witnessed a bunch of conversations go awry recently because the person moving their mouth could not fathom any perspective other than their own. This has been stuck in my skull for the last two weeks and the more I think about it the more it seems to show up. I’ll give you an example:
My wife went sideways with someone in the neighborhood which is a rare occasion and I wish I would have been there but this was a female only gathering. Anyway, the conversation somehow spun around to wrestling which I’ve mentioned before that our son tried for the first time this year. One of the attendees started spouting off about incurable wrestling related diseases even saying that she would not let her child participate in the sport because of that.
She had no idea that the rest of her thought was basically “and anyone who would let their son do that is a bad parent.” So she was shocked when my normally mild mannered bride wheeled with guns blazing. So surprised in fact that she chose a hasty exit over further confrontation.
This is truly the fourth example in two weeks of people being stunned by the impact of their own words. I don’t get it. Maybe because I over think most things and even when I fire off a comment from the hip I automatically know the absolute worst way it can be perceived. It’s not a knack or a gift I just listen and pay attention. So much so that I have a storehouse of shots squirreled away in my brain. It’s one of my favorite mental collections.
And by the way if I deliver a shot I am trying draw blood. Sometimes it might be a pin prick and other times its a jailhouse shiv ventilation. Either way, words meant to hurt not to accidentally offend.
But when I do try and lob a marshmallow and a hammer accidentally flies from my hand I realize it and attempt to mitigate the damage with a pile of apology. Most people when cornered with a mouthful of foot answer with the ever impressive… “what? that’s not what I meant. they don’t think that.” ~quote from actual recent conversation This thing has no point. I can’t tell people to think more before they speak because I don’t always practice that discipline myself. Maybe I should start advising folks to be more deliberate? no, that’s just weird.