Miscommunication

It's funny how things have a way of getting naturally distorted. I recently was at a friend's house and they had a copy of the saccharine, but ever-so-popular novel The Notebook and flipped through its pages and landed on the scene where she flipped through two years of letters she never received from her former lover. It's easy to see how communication can fail when it has been intercepted, but it is quite another to realize you can say exactly what you mean and it can still be equally lost on the other person.

I remember how I excessively wrote to clarify what I meant after I left Connecticut and how I spent months trying to sort it all out. In my head I knew there was no way I could reconcile what was happening with what I really intended. I had hope my words would bring clarity, but I never considered the possibility that they hadn't even been understood. I thought I made it so plain.

It wasn't until last night though, that I realized this. That even when I say what I mean, language isn't precise enough to take the idea out of my head and make it pop into another person's. Without getting into the nuance that would take too long to explain, the basic storyline was that I said something, my friend took it the wrong way. Then, I said something else which only further compounded the miscommunication> By then she was too frustrated and just didn't want to talk anymore. I knew at that point there was nothing I could say to change her perception of the situation or of my intentions. So, I just kept talking to her, got in my car, and drove over to her house. I got there, gave her a hug and just said I didn't mean any of it that way. That was all it took, and she knew exactly what I meant. I still had to clarify a few things later, but the point I realized was that without the ability to just drive over, hold her down for just a moment and make her look into my face I wouldn't have been able to say what I meant. It was just a reminder how how complicated human communication is and how confusing it is.

I guess the important this is that I can see it now, and because of that, don't mind putting in the work to fix these things. I know back in my college days, I would have stood on the premise that I said what I meant, I could defend it, and I was right so I didn't have anything to be sorry for. It's funny how a little shakeup can change the way you see things. It's also a strong reminder of how much we all communicate nonverbally.