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How Misinterpretation Can Ruin Relationships

We interpret communication based on our perspective, but we can change our perception to make for a more positive reality.

“It’s like JZ says, ‘Concrete bunghole where dreams are made up. There’s nothing you can do.’” – Liz Lemon.

That, my friend, is a hilarious quote from one of my all-time favorite, go-to, feel-good (how many hyphens can I possibly put into one sentence?) television shows, 30 Rock.

That show. That show! It’s responsible for changing my life. And no, I’m not being dramatic. 30 Rock got me vibing high during times when I was vibing low.

I’ll tell you, binge television watching has proven a whole lot better for me than binge eating ever has. ;)

Okay, okay, what’s your point Peloso?

Well, I’m going to direct you to this week’s podcast for a deeper dive into the lovely waters of this topic, but here’s the gist.

Let’s get back to that quote. The refrain to the Jay Z song “Empire State of Mind” goes like this: “In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do.”

Now go back and read what Liz Lemon thought was being sung. Okay, fine, I’ll help you out: “Concrete bunghole where dreams are made up. There’s nothing you can do.” (Is that not genius?!)

How the heck did Liz hear the opposite of what was intended?? She could have had a bad case of swimmer’s ear when the song was playing or maybe she just heard what she wanted to hear – and believe.

Not to get all “psychoanalyst” on you, but we interpret communication based on our schema – the way in which we cognitively perceive things.

Our perception has everything to do with our perspective, which is shaped by all the experiences we’ve had up until now. (Yes, let’s all revert to that childhood we’ve packed so deep inside!)

As for Liz Lemon, let’s just say she doesn’t view the world through rose-colored glasses. :)

Back to you. Depending on how you view the world, communication with a boss, friend, parent, etc. could be misinterpreted and seriously impact your well-being. (I’m loving hyphens today!)

Ever go shopping with someone who’s really insecure? You could be in the dressing room, take one look at their new outfit and say, “No way! Next!”

You thought you were having a good time shopping with your friend, but not anymore! Because of her lack of confidence, she heard you say that she was ugly, fat, and nothing will ever look good on her so why even bother... Things that weren’t even stated!

Meanwhile, if you said the same thing to a secure person, she might laugh and say, “What! Really?? Why not?” Then you can enter a mature conversation about why it doesn’t work and how she should try something else in a different cut or color…

See how that works? A lot of the strain we feel in life has to do with misinterpretation and it can be avoided.

Communication is a loaded topic and there’s so much more to say, but the quick and dirty on how to avoid misinterpretation is this: A&E (not the network) - Awareness & Empathy.

When engaging in any type of communication, be aware of your perspective and the other person’s. They say things based upon their views and you interpret them based upon yours. (And vice-versa.)

Perspectives don’t always align, but it’s in your best interest to assume positive intent. There’s no point getting riled up that somebody’s attacking you personally. Remove the emotion, empathize with their point of view, and try to understand how your perception is responsible for your interpretation.

I’m sharing the communication blunder that had me frustrated at work for years in the podcast, so tune in for the full scoop and let’s get buzzing!

I’m raising my mug to clear communication - one of the keys to peace and happiness. Cheers to that. And cheers to you. Have an awesome rest of your week and weekend!

Until next time…

Bee Buzzing!
Amy, The Queen Bee NYC

© 2015 The Queen Bee NYC All Rights Reserved

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