Same Words,Different Meaning
January 2, 2022
A few days back, my family and I were on the road driving to someplace when my son sitting in the back asked me to “increase the Aircon.” So, instinctively, I increased the Aircon temperature in the car from 22 degrees to about 25 degrees. As I did this, my son retorted from the back, ” what are you doing? It is warm in the back. I wanted you to reduce the temperature, not increase it !!”
The words were ” Increase the Aircon,” my interpretation of what my son asked me to do was diametrically opposite to what he wanted. Same words- different meaning.
This is what happens in our lives often. We listen to what others say, but we don’t understand the meaning or intention behind what they say. Instead, we interpret based on our pre-conceived beliefs and assume we are right. Rarely do we make an effort to understand what the other person is trying to convey. We are guilty of forming an impression without understanding the actual meaning.
Your friend says, “I’ll try to make it,” and you interpret it as ” he will come.” Whereas your friend is thinking, “I am not committing anything.” Same words, different meaning.
A boss tells his junior, ” the presentation needs improvement,” and the interpretation can go haywire. The junior assumes that the presentation she has prepared is good, and all it requires is some minor tweaking while the supervisor is thinking, ” there is so much more work to do !!”- Same words, different meaning.
A parent tells the teenaged kid, “Write the exam carefully.” The kid interprets this as ” my mom doesn’t trust me to do a good job” and gets irritated. Whereas the mother was just telling the kid to be careful out of concern. Same words, different meaning.
I was obviously not paying attention when my son asked me to increase the Aircon. The car was not so cool that my son would feel like wanting the temperature to be raised. If anything, the back of the vehicle was definitely warm.
Good listening means paying attention to all the cues beyond what is said. Good listening means making an effort to understand the meaning of what is being said.
When you approach every conversation with the intention to understand, the words will be the same, and the meaning that the two sides will have will also be the same.