how to be (mis)understood

Start with a thought that you want to share. Think of a friend, then:

1) Write an email, text or message. Hit send.

2) Wait for the response. Sometimes this is a checkmark or little dots moving showing they’re writing back.

Have the responder read it, assume emotion and intent and make a presupposition about what you meant including what you’re wearing, had for breakfast and what you have scheduled an hour later. The responder will respond with words that surprise you because they did not understand your words the way you did.

3) Attempt to clarify point one with another written response.

4) Wait for the response back and be surprised when it was still misunderstood. Sometimes this results in a bit of frustration as well. Don’t be surprised by that.

This will now evolve into further digression from the original point and all of a sudden your actions from last week will be brought into play and you’ll be discussing what you meant by the placement of the comma in the comment just prior to the one that was misunderstood.

5) Attempt, again, to explain your viewpoint with another written message. This one is a bit stronger, with clauses and phrases detailing what you meant and why you feel you were right.

Instead of resolving things, this will not start a fury of back and forth “but this is what you meant” with you responding “no, this is what I meant” and you will start to pace the floor waiting for the next text, note or message because you are now trying to prove intent behind what you felt was an innocent statement.

6) Slam your hands on the keyboard.

7) Accidentally send whatever series of letters, characters or numbers resulted because you slammed your hands on the keyboard furthering the fury between you and the other person over the meaning of a phrase.

At this point, your heart is racing as you start to question your character and worth. Now a simple phrase that was misunderstood is reflected in all you do – your childhood, how long it takes you to order a drink at Starbucks and the fact that some days you open a message and don’t respond immediately.


8) Spend a great deal of time trying to word a clever response explaining what you meant. If needed, you reference the dictionary for meanings of words and to further prove that you are right.

9) Common sense is forgotten. This is a war.

As in a battle of war you will forget that the other person who misunderstood the text was a friend. You start to calculate response times and scroll back through messages just to prove you are right. Everything else is pushed to the side – work, appointments, television – because now you are in the ultimate misunderstood battle.

10) Type “I don’t care.”

11) Type “whatever”

You’re questioning you now as you start to believe that your grasp of the English language and use of commas, syntax and rules is the issue. Tears fill your eyes and the anger is replaced with deep frustration in your lack of communication skills.

12) You drive to Starbucks, fuming, and order the Venti Caramel Macchiato with the extra shot.

13) You take the extra time and the entire misunderstood thread comes back to haunt you as you explain to the barista what you really meant and that yes, you wanted the extra shot, and yes, sometimes you don’t explain things clearly enough.

Baristas are trained in the art of the misunderstood days. They know that this is the perfect time for the upsell because you, the one feeling slighted, has someone convincing you that the new red pepper egg bites will make you feel warm and happy.

13) You spend $11.28 at Starbucks soothing your misunderstood heart.

14) And now, now instead of joy you think how this day now has become one of the worst days. You’ve lost time, you’ve exhausted energy and you feel misunderstood. And $11.28 poorer.


You pick up the phone, explain what you meant, and move on.

Being understood.


never trust email, messages or text before your friends or others – those are just words without emotion – and your friends? they have a heart.

2 Responses to “how to be (mis)understood”

  1. February 2, 2017

    Chris Darden Reply

    So much is lost today in email and on social media. I wonder if that is why people become so angry today, because they don’t know how to have a conversation face to face anymore. Great post. Definitely will share

  2. February 3, 2017

    Jen Reply

    Love this, friend. And you. Let’s talk sometime 😉

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