A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE – Marilyn Armstrong

A MERE FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE, BOSS

This is one of the biggest problems with electronic communication. I suppose it’s a problem with any communication that isn’t face-to-face. People probably misunderstood each other’s handwritten letters too.

😀  I believe the  🙂  was invented to convey that what you wrote was not meant negatively  😦  Emojis are just an artistic advancement of the stuff we used to do on the keyboard.

I use emoticons liberally, though they are not English and cannot be considered in any way grammatical. They are also childish, but that’s good because children convey feelings easily. I’m not averse to being childish if it improves communications.

communication-intimacy-10-levels

I tend to be brusque. Short. I try to be witty, but it doesn’t always come across that way. My attempts to be “cute” can easily be misread as snide, snippy, and dismissive. So for all of you with whom I attempt electronic communications:

1) If I seem to be snide, snippy, or dismissive, you’ll know it. I’m not so subtle. Really.

2) My wrists hurt and I forget almost everything within 15 seconds. Sometimes I forget what I’m doing while I’m doing it. My typing is getting worse. Of the emerging issues caused by pain in wrists and forgetfulness, most malignant are those missing words. I’m not talking about misspellings. I meant words that aren’t there. At all. Particularly unfortunate when the missing word is “not” — exactly reversing the meaning of a sentence yet appearing as grammatically correct.

SOLUTIONS?

Lacking fonts that clearly express sarcasm or irony — both of which are far better expressed by tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions — maybe we (me) should consider alternate forms. This is difficult since I have always tended to be sarcastic. (I used to be worse, but I’m in recovery.) That kind of wit doesn’t translate well into text. Not yet, anyhow and until it does, I’m considering finding types of humor which are less likely to be misread.

The second solution isn’t a solution but might help. Before you decide you’ve been insulted, dismissed, treated with scorn, or anything like that, check with the comment’s originator. Make sure what you know is what was meant. That it wasn’t a complicated typo or a joke gone wildly wrong.

PARANOIA

It’s easy to read everything as a form of criticism. I’ve seen people slide into this by degrees until they successfully misinterpret everything. You need a degree of toughness to live a virtual life. You also need patience, in the sense of not jumping to conclusions. Finally, you have to remember you are not the center of everyone’s world and when people say something, they are not necessarily targeting you.

One of my many problems with the whiners, complainers, and the “oh woe is me-ers” is they have sunk so deep into their own “issues,” they forget other people have lives and problem of their own. People can be brusque — dismissive — and it hasn’t got anything to do with you. They are responding to something going on in their world.

Usually, you will never know what is or was going on unless they choose to tell you or you directly ask. Because many of us like to keep our private life private. I deal with intimate issues face-to-face and telephone-to-telephone. Even email-to-email. Not on my blog.

PRIVACY IS GOOD

Which brings me to my final point.

Bloggers can easily contact each other privately. If you have a bone to pick with someone — or think you do — try email. Directly. To the individual. Even if your position is righteous and your cause is just, in public is rarely the best place to resolve a dispute. After you’ve publicly insulted or hurt someone, they may refuse to forgive you.

And finally, squabbling about personal stuff online is tacky. Totally teenage, very Facebook, and not classy at all.

22 thoughts on “A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. Marilyn, you hit the proverbial nail on the head once again… hell hath no fury like a social media commenter scorn! Like you, I abhor those who relish the opportunity to hide behind their computers while spewing vicious rhetoric thru their fingertips and/or airing their dirty laundry for all to see. I’ve been online since the mid 90’s, and it literally baffles my noggin how some people still act and react. But your point about trying to convey your thoughts thru words and whether to use a period as opposed to an exclamation point is spot on – it is difficult at times for my aging mind to come up with a neutral comment on negative posts, so most times I pass on commenting at all. And it’s this very reason why I hang out with people closer to my own age, because more times than not, they have the same mindset as my own.

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  2. Wow, now I really feel that somebody, or more likely, several/many of your umpteen followers stepped a bit too heavily on your toes. You are so right in taking a stand and thank you for doing so. I also appreciate honesty and prefer someone to tell me off right into my face, instead of holding things against me that were not intended in that way at all. One of my dear nieces with bad health news told me, after I thought I‘d written her a uplifting letter which came straight from my heart, that she‘d prefer for me not to write to her but just to keep her in my heart, thoughts and prayers (we also see each other regularly and have a deep love for each other), because ‚letters like yours just make want to disappear, I feel so unworthy‘….. I am not going into the details of this (yes, privacy) but I was floored by the uncertainty of my so beloved, highly achieving, beautiful niece with a kind husband and great children. We THINK we know the other one as much as they know themselves, but really, all we know is that We Know Nothing.
    I hope I‘ve never walked on your feelings, as I know fully well that sometimes my sense of humour is a bit on the weird, ironic side too. If I did, I apologize right now from the bottom of my heart. If I didn‘t, I‘m glad.
    Please continue to write – anything, with and without writing errors, we know how bright and intelligent you are, and we gladly overlook any. I once made the grave error of asking one of your friends about an English word and realised at her reaction that it was not received in my intended manner. Since then, I try to be more subtle and ‚prévoyante‘ (foreseeing?!). But we are all human and humans commit errors and faults; and as you rightly stated, the ‚reception‘ of many a comment may be quite totally different to the meaning it was sent off with.

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    • The problem is that our words can easily mean more than one thing. English is especially difficult that way. We have so many homonyms and it’s so easy to misspell one word and completely lose the meaning of what you said. Our languages were not created for this kind of communication, so we need to tread lightly. I write, then I hold the letter for at least a few hours because I know I may not be saying what I really mean. I often think a telephone call would solve most of these problems.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I never looked at the English language as one of having ‚varying senses‘; to me it‘s (after German) the most precise, clear and ‚to-the-point‘ language. This is an interesting aspect you raise here, Marilyn.
        But what a tremendous PITY it would be to cut out the ‚middle man‘, the writing, especially thinking of someone so at ease with language as you are. (I‘m not flattering you, it really, really would be a tremendous loss for your readers should you decide to phone only). I, on the other hand (contrary to you), prefer to phone only when I have a short concise message to rely, when I don‘t want to ‚blablabla‘ or need to confirm a date/time or detail (tradespeople). With people like my blind, aged mother or my sister it‘s ok, with some few friends too, but these are also the same ppl who ADORE receiving a short note, letter or card. Written notes are a joy-giver and can be re-read as often as one wants. So, isn‘t that interesting, to have even THIS theme to discuss 🙂

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  3. I agree and that’s why I mostly avoid getting involved in discussions on Facebook. I was reading posts in a lot of groups during the bushfires as I was out of the area and wanted to keep up with what was happening to people and even on some of those groups a disagreement quickly escalated into personal comments. Facebook is often a lot like schoolyard. I think it’s good advice to contact a person privately if you have a big issue with something they have written or there has been a misunderstanding. People on social media are very quick to take sides and soon the original subject under discussion has been lost under a sea of insults and bad language.

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  4. Good advice about emailing before reacting in comments. Although I know I have a few commenters who consistently try to pick a fight or to denigrate my positions on political/religious matters or call people who have similar political beliefs as mine stupid and misguided. I used to engage, but now I mostly ignore them. I don’t block them from making comments, though, because I let their craziness speak for itself.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh how I love that sentence ‚I let their craziness speak for itself‘….. You are a great guy (and I bet a lot of dirt is being tossed your way with your open stance on politics etc). Have a smiley for this! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango, I try to keep my on line comments respectful – even if it’s someone who doesn’t deserve the courtesy. I try to avoid politics and religion — faltering only when someone blasts the media and, subsequently, me. Even then, I try to stay the high ground. I try to avoid the baiters and haters. Some days, it’s quite hard. I just scroll by them or get off the computer and do something useful.

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