Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Have you ever tried to avoid a misunderstanding from taking place? It could be with anyone, like your husband, wife, family members, or even friends and colleagues at office or your work place.

Misunderstandings tend be unbalancing and are both so disturbing and so common. They seem to get into your head before you even know what’s happened. And they cause such havoc, throwing the most reliable relationship off balance. There’s nothing right about a misunderstanding. It is an error, for which you can blame yourself or the other person, though we generally do the latter.

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How do misunderstandings arise? Often the cause is a kind of egocentrism – the belief that other people think the same way we do, especially if these people belong to “us.” But, try though you might to come across in a certain way to others, people often perceive you in an altogether different manner. One person may think, for example, that by offering help to a colleague, she is coming across as generous. But her colleague may interpret her offer as a lack of faith in her abilities.

Meanwhile, she had only offered to help because she thought her colleague was overworked and stressed. She has been staying late every day. In truth, though, she wasn’t keeping strange hours because she was overworked; she just worked best when the office was less crowded.

These kinds of misunderstandings lead to conflict and resentment, not just at work but at home too. How many fights between couples start with one person misinterpreting what another says and does? He stares at his plate at dinner while she’s telling a story and she assumes he doesn’t care about what she’s saying, when in reality he’s admiring the beautiful meal she made.

She goes to bed early rather than watching their favorite television show together like they usually do, and he assumes she’s not interested in spending time with him when really she’s just exhausted after a tough day at work.

Gaps exist between people. First, most people suffer from what psychologists call “the transparency illusion” – the belief that what they feel, desire, and intend is crystal clear to others, even though they have done very little to communicate clearly what is going on inside their minds. Because one party assumes they are transparent, they might not spend the time or effort to be as clear and forthcoming about their intentions or emotional states as they could be, giving the other party very little information with which to make an accurate judgment.

Individuals need to maintain a positive sense of themselves to function well. When someone’s sense of self is threatened, such as when she interacts with someone who she thinks is better than her is at a job they both share, she judges that person more harshly. People who are easy to judge – people who send clear signals to other people – have been found to ultimately be happier and more satisfied with their relationships, careers, and lives than those who are more difficult to read. It’s easy to understand why: Feeling understood is a basic human need. When people feel that need satisfied, they feel more at peace with themselves and with the people around them.

Mostly, misunderstandings happen due to miscommunication, lack of communication, difference of opinions, unlike-mindedness, and different ways of thinking. There are many suggested ways to avoid misunderstanding in any kind of relationship. I believe LOVE works best.

L – Listen
O – Observe
V – Verify
E – Evaluate

You never know when you’ll get another chance to clear up your doubts, so do it right away. Don’t give the seed of misunderstanding any time to take root in your mind because later when the misunderstanding grows, the ego factor builds its wall between you and the person you haveve a misunderstanding with. Remember, life is short. You never know what’s in store tomorrow. Clear up issues now; don’t keep such important matters pending

Don’t keep any place for misunderstanding in your mind. Always try to avoid misunderstanding others, wherever possible. Communication is an important factor to avoid misunderstanding. So, make sure to communicate often and regularly with those who matter to you.

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