Random, Just Read It!

Failure To Communicate

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. 


9 thoughts on “Failure To Communicate

  1. From a fellow grammar/English/vocabulary nerd, I agree. Ask any graduate assistant around and even most college students can’t translate thoughts into coherent words on paper. Folks get irritated with me and accuse me of “taking questions too literally”… Ummmmm, I’m only answering the question you asked. “You know what I mean though…” Ummmm, no I don’t. I’m not a mind reader. My latest language related object of scorn is “It is what it is”. That phrase doesn’t mean anything!!! Simple silence conveys more meaning than letting that dribble out of your mouth. Another pet peeve – sports announcers using the term “athlete”. “That guy is SUCH an athlete”. Ummm yeah, so am I when I play flag football. Might you describe said athlete in a more descriptive manner?

  2. @Ed, maybe they should celebrate the player’s athleticism. I could be wrong though.

    I am the one usually pressed upon to draft written communications. I am a writer so it makes sense. Verbally, I’m usually pretty succinct, (at work, at a cipher, not so much) I hate my typos, and I am dictionary dependent to make sure the word that I want to use actually means what I think it does. I believe with so many people social media slanging the verbiage gets tossed. I’m of two minds, a) Language is alive and grows and mutates, so we must allow it to take its course and b) a common language does have a purpose as it allows us to directly communicate with one another.

    Either way… I think spell check and at least one pre-read before the send button would get the job done. English is a requirement in school; so, you have to wonder what was being taught that so many people missed it?!

  3. I work with someone who sounds like your cousins’ coworker. a mess. smh. anyway…I try to simplify my words for these people, but to no avail. They’re lost causes. And Selah, while, English may be a requirement in school…it may not be at home. Case in point: someone at work today readily admitted that the only reason her grandchild was reading already (age 5) was b/c of the teacher. :S Ummmm…if the teacher basically taught the kid to read, I HIGHLY doubt the mom is doing anything to add to that, and I’m almost willing to bet my paycheck that English that should be used to effectively communicate is the language of choice at home (it’s probably “slave.”).

    Bre…dying laughing at how the coworkers email SHOULD HAVE been written. You should’ve gotten him a box of crayons and one of those trace the letter handwriting books. lol.

    • the same james brown that started yelling out random food at the end of a song. The same one that to this day I don’t know if he says smothered steak or smothered snake at the end of Make it Funky. Yea, that would be the truth Truth!

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