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Analyze Common Causes of Misunderstandings

Wise Library 1985/ Margaret W. Lavigne 

Ego, Negativity Bias & Poor Communication Skills

As we are being uncomfortable in a relationship, we are more likely to misunderstand each other. If your ego is highly valued in your argument, competitive conversations will prevent people from getting closer to understanding. The negativity bias is a major cause of misunderstanding and miscommunication for sure. Oftentimes, miscommunication occurs due to poor speaking skills and communication skills. Aside from these, misunderstanding has something to do with different mental models. Sharon Morgen believes that our brains delete, misconstrue and misinterpret according to filters–biases, triggers, assumptions, beliefs, habits, and mental models. Give people time, and don’t expect people to change their thinking in a day. It’s easy to misunderstand others’ actions and perspectives. Once people get caught in a negative cycle of communication, they find it harder to understand each other. 

It’s acceptable to end a relationship, but I prefer to end a relationship without misunderstandings when possible. One of the biggest challenges of interpersonal relationships is misunderstanding each other. Arto Mustajoki of the University of Helsinki has made a list of the common reasons causing us to misunderstand each other.


#Ponint 1 & 7: Both parties interpret the matter differently. People ofter interpret the matter from his/ her own sense of worldview, which is largely unconscious. People fail to realize how often they have unconsciously misinterpreted something due to their own biases, assumptions, or prejudices. And this happens to all of us.  People don’t spend energy on understanding each other and end up having a “fight” or have a bad feeling.


Response: The way how you do things might be disagreed with by another person. The way how you do things might be misinterpreted by someone else. As we harbour a negative evaluation toward someone, we are more likely to interpret their words, responses, and behaviours negatively. 

#Ponint 2. Another person fails to imagine or understand what the other person was trying to tell him or her. In this case, the understanding between both parties is limited. One of the parties might feel being misunderstood.

Response: I would say, some traumatic events or disturbing events can be too complicated to share or put into words, especially when the listener does not have similar experiences.  It’s a hard truth that as we try overly hard to avoid any conflicts, we might encourage more misunderstandings. 

#Ponint  Unclear message or pitch 

Arto Mustajoki points out the fact that words have several meanings depending on the context. 

Response: People might interpret the same message differently when they are having a good or bad relationship with the person they are talking to. It’s so often that people fail to confirm and clarify the idea and message in the conversations.  To prevent misunderstanding, you might have to confirm what the other person actually meant if you feel uncomfortable about his/her reaction. Without clarification, misunderstandings might occur due to imaginary interpretations.

Miscommunication is more likely to happen when you don’t know the other person well. Implications and implicit messages are more likely to be misinterpreted for sure.

Solve Misunderstandings Between Friends

#Figure Out The Cause Of The Problem
The first step is knowing the cause of misunderstanding.

#If the fault lies within you…
Are you willing to apologize? If you value friendship, are you willing to make it up for it? Avoid solving the arguments when the emotions run high. Also, doing some self-reflection will help you have a clearer look at the root of the problem. Leaving the problem unsolved will only cause more hurt for both parties. People dream of lifetime friendships, but some relationships just not meant to last forever. Please understand that some friendships just don’t work out.

#Be a Good Listener
The more you know about your friends, the easier it is to solve a problem together.


# Accept Differences & Take Some Time and Space for Yourself.

# If the fault lies within your friend…

If you value the friendship, taking the misunderstandings as a lesson learned and grow together. Tell them you don’t want the friendship to be wasted away on something foolish or insignificant.


Effective Communication Skills

#Be Specific & Choose Your words Carefully
Avoid spending much time on unnecessary details, which might misguide people’s attention. Keep it straight to the point. Summarise what you’ve said and stress the most important parts to make sure that your messages are clearly understood.

#Take a Break When Emotion Escalates
According to Hansen, “When things begin to spin out of control, couples need to take an agreed-upon break and work on self-soothing during that time.” It’s common that people try too hard to defend themselves or formulate their rebuttal. However, focusing on how you feel before you start arguing is more important. Feelings such as “I feel hurt and disappointed” are different from thoughts, such as “I feel like you don’t care about me,” which is more like an accusation.


Solve Misunderstanding in a Relationship

See your partner as an ally. Your partner isn’t the enemy. You’re a team. People want to feel heard and validated. When two individuals with different personalities and beliefs, negotiation is inevitable. Healthy relationships are able to move through conflict constructively.


“We should be empathetic or optimistic about each other while interacting… Each of us can learn to listen and make sure we have understood the matter just as the other person wanted to put it.”-Arto Mustajoki


More Info on YouTube

Why Are You So Misunderstood? Highly Sensitive People


Wise Library 1985

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