Misunderstandings happen in every relationship and I am not only referring to the romantic ones. The platonic are blood relations are also plagued by this.
Cause of misunderstanding: not people but their assumptions and beliefs!
Usually people have a set of assumptions & beliefs based on which they react to a certain situation.
For e.g. A son asked his mother for an expensive phone. She refused.
What Mom meant: Getting him a new phone would distract him from his studies especially when his final exams are around the corner. I will buy him a phone after his exams are over.
Mom’s belief: Educations is more important for his future than fulfilling his wish now. My son should concentrate on his upcoming exams.
Mom’s assumption: I should think about my son’s long term benefit and not on providing instant gratification.
What son thought: My mother does not love me. She loves money.
He is questioning his mother – not her belief, not her assumption. This creates acrimony in relationship until and unless explicit effort is made to remove such misunderstanding.
The reason I am saying that assumptions and beliefs are causes because it is far more constructive to critically analyse an assumption/belief than questioning an individual.
Let me make it easier for you. Which of the following is more hurtful?
Son: Mom, I don’t like your belief / assumption.
Son: Mom, I don’t like you.
I rest my case.
How can we deal with misunderstanding? – 10 key points
- Never jump to conclusions.
- Do not react immediately. Take time to understand the underlying belief/assumption to know where the thinking is coming from.
- If in doubt, ask frankly. The person will understand.
- Take effort.
- Do not always expect the other person to take effort. It is your relationship as well.
- Talk to the person when he/she has calmed down.
- You both are a team – not adversaries. There is no winner in a relationship. It is not a fight.
- Understand your assumptions and beliefs as well. Self-awareness is key.
- Give space and time to the other person to understand you.
- Don’t think you know someone really well. Every person is evolving. There are layers waiting to be unfolded. There is more to that person than meets the eyes.
Have a healthy relationship.