A simple phrase can be interpreted a million different ways. Think about it. Words only mean something to the speaker from the speaker’s interpretation of their words and if the listener doesn’t fully understand where the speaker coming from, their words may get misconstrued. Simply stated: the speaker says what they feel, think and want and the listener can interpret what they want to hear out of those words based on their own biases.
We’ve all had this happens to us, some more than others. I think with the increase of texting and Facebook use that this happens quite often. It is when we speak directly at a person when we can gauge the other person’s reactions to what we are saying and hence realize if we have been misunderstood. When we read something that someone is “saying” we can often misinterpret the meaning behind their words.
Take for example, if you do not like a person or think that a person does not like you, then everything that person says or writes to you will have a different interpretation or tone. If a good friend says, ” wow, you’ve lost a lot a weight and look great!” I will take that a compliment. However, if someone I do not like says the exact same phrase to me I will think they are merely pointing out that I was once heavier or that they are being sarcastic or making fun.
The best way to deal with the new social media is to think of the tone of someone’s writing in the best possible light first before jumping to conclusions. If you are still offended then why not ask (gasp) the person what they meant by writing that they did. Most times people are not out to be cruel ( I tend to think the best of people) and WE are the ones that read into phrase more than are meant to be read into.
Lastly, give people the benefit of the doubt. If you think someone doesn’t like you, call them out on it. If you think someone is being rude to you, ask them why. If you are getting your feelings hurt do not suffer in silence but bring it up to the person because words and phrases can be interpreted a million different ways and it is the listener’s responsibility to raise questions if they are offended or confused by the speaker’s words.