Creative Communication in Misunderstanding

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We’re human. We have misunderstandings, and we often end up in tense situations, arguments or even fights because of them. If you find yourself in one of those situations, it may be time to get get creative. Here are a nine tips to wade the murky waters of misunderstanding:
1. Stay calm. Getting upset will only make it worse.

  1. Repeat back to the person exactly what you hear them saying. Word for word, like “I hear you saying (and whatever they just said).”

  2. If the other person keeps repeating himself/herself, they don’t feel understood. Go back to suggestion number two. Trust me.

  3. Draw a diagram or chart. Maybe you can connect on a visual level.

  4. Write your thoughts down or show the person whatever you can find to communicate what you’re trying to say in writing. Some people just understand written things better. (For example, get the calendar out if you’re arguing over a date; get the dictionary out if you’re arguing over a word, etc.). Just don’t be hostile about it.

  5. Get someone else to explain or use someone else as a mediator. Often times their presence alone will force you to communicate differently.

  6. Don’t give up.

  7. Take a break and come back to it later (but still, don’t give up).

  8. If all else fails, ask the person to rate the whole thing on a scale from one to ten, ten being the most important and one being the least. You might find that for them it’s a one, which, in that case, they may be able to just drop the whole thing.