I often find myself wishing there were such a thing as a sarcasm font. Just a way to make sure my annoyance at stupidity was properly conveyed. But oftentimes sarcasm is lost on the dumb. I try to choose my words carefully to get my point across. Even with people I type to so frequently they can hear my voice when they read my words; I make sure I pick the correct syntax and diction (thank you Mr. Murrel, AP English III) to convey the craziness that I just witnessed or the stupidity I was subject to. Maybe it’s just the writer in me. I proof read texts. I hate posting a tweet with a misspelled word. I get seven kinds of irritated when I see a Facebook status about how someone “could care less”. “IT’S COULDN’T, you COULDN’T CARE LESS,” I fume behind the screen. And then I wish for a virtual red pen to scratch my way through the internet.
The other day I received an email from a coworker that was so bad it should have been written in Crayola font with a backwards R and everything. Even reading it aloud didn’t help me understand what he was trying to get me to do. Transposing letters or a misspelled word here or there is easily overlooked. Especially when you know a co-worker and they understand what you want them to do. But I couldn’t even get the direction of what he was looking for out of this email. So I closed it and didn’t ask for clarification. If you don’t care enough to use your words properly I don’t care enough to try and decipher your coded messages. I don’t work for the FBI. I don’t get paid enough to do so.
My cousin was complaining about her co-worker’s disrespect of the English language. It had gotten so bad when she would say “what” the co-worker would just speak louder as if my cousin had a hearing problem. No dialect to decipher. No English as a second language barriers. Just a “wtf” face and a “why don’t you understand what I’m saying” face.
I’ve recently decided to try and be more direct with my approach to people. State clearly what I am trying to accomplish. I’m a very laid back, take things as they come, and keep my real thoughts to myself kind of person. Mostly because things are so jumbled they won’t come out correctly. Or because I don’t have enough words stored in my vocab to get my point across. I’m clearly in the minority. Most people just spew out words with no form or direction. Then get mad when they don’t get the results they desired. So I’m thinking maybe I will be more like Inception and get the simplest form of what I’m trying to say across and go with that. Maybe even make them repeat back what I said to make sure we are on the same page.
Friends fall out over minor communication failures. Assumptions and misunderstandings can really screw things up. I shudder at the thought of how often it happens constantly in romantic relationships. One party speaking their language while the other is hearing their own. It’s all the same words, but the meaning behind them is on a totally different plane. Communication is a two way street, not just “waiting for your turn to speak” (bonus points for who can get that movie quote).
So what do you do when there is a miscommunication? Do you try to clarify your words? Have you had an experience with bad communication? Talk to everyone on a 5th grade level? Answer…carefully.