The Miracle of Human Understanding

group of people and coloured arrows showing speech direction

Most of us past teenage years have seen and experienced misunderstandings. Some can be tragic, some can seem funny even, looking back, some are funny – and some are rather mundane, really.

What can make it difficult can be situations such as the following, a nice example I came across the other day, paraphrased here:

A group of people were scheduled for a training of communication. Everybody arrived in time, wore casual clothing as per agenda and was quite relaxed, chatting and waiting for the training to begin. A little while into the day’s itinerary, a young man who everybody had been wondering about, arrived far too late. He was very quiet, wore a business suit that obviously had been expensive and showed a rather withdrawn behaviour.

The group decided that he seemed rather arrogant and they felt annoyed and treated with a lack of basic politeness.

It took a while to find out that he had been to a funeral, unexpectedly and of a close person and barely had found time to arrive at all…

This little anecdote makes it clear nicely how easily unrelated events can be made into a chain of misunderstanding.

Keeping an open mind and realizing that our interpretations can be wrong in spite of appearances can be the first step towards real understanding.