This week, I've been reminded in a couple of conversations how easy it is to misinterpret something.
A physical observation,
Something somebody said, or
Especially, something somebody wrote.
In the statement in the subject line of this message, I purposely offered no punctuation in the predicate. So is it a description of the panda's:
Behavior in a tavern,
Table manners, or
Here's a link
to a picture in which some see a very old woman's face and some see the silhouette of a young pretty woman's face. Check it out! Which do you see? See if you can find the other.
These are examples of easily misinterpreted statements and images. How about what someone said to you? Something somebody wrote in an email?
It's very easy to receive something completely differently than was intended by the sender. Have you reacted in anger, or with humor, to something only to learn that your interpretation was totally inappropriate?
These mistakes can cause arguments, breakdowns in relationships, inappropriate decisions, and many other miscommunications. Much of which can be prevented by a little restraint and inquiry.
As the sender of a message, take care to consider how it might be misconstrued. Make your intent clearer, if possible. Be
very careful with punctuation.
As the receiver of a message, consider different meanings than your first reaction.
As a viewer of a picture, a physical object in poor light, or especially a pattern of lights at night, look carefully. If possible, get a view from another angle. Get more light on the subject.
In every case, recognize that what you see is often not what you get! Leaving yourself open to different interpretations, whenever possible, can avoid embarrassing misunderstandings or worse.