Sunday, February 12, 2012

This is Typical: Diagram of a Disagreement

Nathan and I have entirely different communication styles. In fact, our brains are wired so differently that we, on an almost daily basis, have a discussion that seems straightforward and impossible to misconstrue only to realize later that we came away with wildly different understandings of the discussion. Usually this realization comes too late to do us any good.

Nathan's diagram of one such misunderstanding.

Back when I had my old phone, which was very limited in its capabilities, Nathan texted me while I was on a conference call asking me if I was on my way to pick him up as we headed out of town for the weekend. I texted him back a y which I meant as short for yes. He took that to mean "Why?" So he wrote back, "Can't you just answer," which I understood as "Can't you just answer my call?"  since he had tried to call me twice already (but actually he meant can't you just answer the question?) I was so frustrated that I had to exit my conference call (which wasn't over) to call him back just to tell him that "yes, I am here to pick you up" that by the time he finally got to the car I refused to talk because I knew we'd end up yelling at each other (never a good start to a 3 1/2 hour drive).

There's nothing more demoralizing to an English major than to feel like she cannot communicate clearly. I can't begin to list how many times this has happened. We used to get so exasperated with each other that we'd end up fuming. Because of one such conversation, I spent one Sunday morning sitting in a parked car next to the interstate halfway to Chicago while Nathan finished his golf game in Indianapolis. We have walked miles out of our way trying to "meet up" somewhere in our own neighborhood! Fights have begun only to turn out that we are actually arguing the same side.

 Luckily, at this point in our relationship we have begun to expect the miscommunications and nearly always find them funny. I now tend to err on the side of rephrasing something six times suspecting that he will probably still miss my point, while he just assumes I'm going to get lost on my way to meet him. And yes, even after eleven years together we still cannot communicate clearly enough to prove these assumptions wrong.


  1. Eh well, there are worse things to deal with in a least now it's funny.

  2. LOL! Gotta take the good with the bad, I guess :) Silly boys!