The fine art of miscommunication

Recently my boyfriend unexpectedly saw my mother at her place of business.  He was there to interview for an open position and she was working.  She had been informed he had applied but forgot.  So when she saw him, she thought he was there for an appointment.  She works for a cancer specialist.  Draw your own conclusion.

When I spoke to him afterwards, I mentioned my mother’s memory lapse and subsequent erroneous conclusion and he exclaimed, “Oh, that’s what she meant, ‘by this is a bad sign’”.  I then asked him, what did you think she meant?  And he replied, “Oh, I don’t know. I just roll with it.  Unless I have a critical realization that we’re not talking about the same thing.”

Communication is a fine art.  The nuance and subtleties are myriad and varied.  When  you think about it, it’s a wonder we understand each other at all.  This misunderstanding occurred between two people speaking the same language.  Interestingly, when two individuals speak different mother tongues, I think there is less misunderstanding because they are both aware and focused on making sure they are clear and they are both mindfully open to differing interpretations, both culturally and linguistically.

Travel is a wonderful way to experience this phenomenon.  I think everyone should travel.  It doesn’t have to be internationally, there are many wonderful places here, in the United States, to which you can travel inexpensively.  Travel opens up your frame of reference in a way that no other experience can.  You realize things you assumed were not exactly as you pictured them.  In a way, travel helps widen your base of knowledge.  Your understanding of different cultures changes and deepens.

Travel changes you for the better.  And those you encounter are changed as well.  The learning doesn’t occur in one direction.  Encounter, education, understanding.  Think of all the hate and prejudice we could eradicate just by making an effort to understand that which we do not know.  Mahatma Gandhi encouraged us to “be the change you want to see in the world”.  Embody that, internalize it, live it.  And see what happens.


One response to “The fine art of miscommunication”

  1. I’d like to commend you on just how far this post meandered. You began with “my mom mistakenly thought my boyfriend had cancer for a minute” and somehow brought the post all the way to Gandhi. That’s a conceptual JOURNEY and I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

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