Will the true meaning of what you said, please stand up?


I’ve been reading a book lately that discusses linguistics and how people communicate what they mean. The problem is that people learn to communicate so differently that people often don’t say what they mean. They mean something different, and they expect you to pick up on what they are saying. Of course what makes communication even worse is when people start thinking they know what you mean, and they have misread entirely your meaning, mainly because they are communicating with a style that is different from you. The importance of the book is that it helps us learn to understand how people come into a relationship with a different communication game plan, style and technique. This is especially true when men and women are paired together in something like a marriage. You may wonder why people develop such differences. Well, the first thought that comes to mind is that men and women grow up differently. Studies show that boys make a lot of noises when they play, acting out imaginary stories with their toys. Girls are more often conversing. So at the get go, the communication differences are forming. The differences between men and women continue changing, placing the sexes is alternative forms of expressing themselves. The problem, or at least a most significant one, is the development of reading and interpreting the underlining or “metamessage” of communications. The meta message can be described as possibly the emotional message of what is stated. When this message is spoken, it can easily be misread. Take for instance something that occurs when a man who doesn’t think in metamessages states something practical like “I’m going to kitchen to get something to eat.” Now for a woman his not asking the woman whether or not she would like something, send the metamessage, “you aren’t important.” What furthers the situation is if she goes into the kitchen and finds him sitting by himself about the sandwich. He might say then “Are you hungry?” She might say “yes.” But when offered the sandwich he just made, she might say, “No, I don’t want your sandwich,” and proceed to tell the guy he doesn’t care about her, else he would have made her a sandwich at the get go, because he is concerned for her feelings. Have you had similar experiences in communicating? I certainly have. I just think we need to relearn how we communicate, and for people to ask for clarification if they can’t understand that they are miss communicating and so the metamessages read are accurate. Additional Reading: That’s Not What I Meant Metamessages – Lower Intelligence


2 Responses to “Will the true meaning of what you said, please stand up?”

  1. April 20, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve experienced almost exactly the same situations in my life. What is the name of the book you were reading when you wrote this post? I’d like to “accidentally” leave a copy of it laying out. 🙂

    • April 22, 2011 at 8:26 pm

      I can’t recall the title now. The book was fascinating, but difficult reading — written from the academic perspective, combined with a bit of metaphysical waverings and scents. I just like reading about how people communicate. The blog is still running on two legs without a post in so many days, weeks, and months, all due to the google bots telling the world the most relevant picture for clockwork orange is on my blog — number one for a while. I have another blog you might like — it is really more me than this. I post art I’ve done and comment on various aspects of why and which whether about the pieces.

      Do you write any blogs or such? My work email is pwhite3@calstatela.edu

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