Communication Barrier #5: Negating others’ interpretations

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I found this dialog on Facebook amusing. 

Nikos asks if there is an easy way to embed video on the Facebook server. James replies, yes, there is. Karma asks, well, then what is it? Nikos responded that he didn’t know. He had asked and gotten a rude reply. James said,

“Sorry for the misunderstanding, you didn’t ask how…you just asked if there was an easy way. I wasn’t being rude.”  http://cit.ucsf.edu/embedmedia/step1.php 

That is about as easy as it gets, folks.

Well, James is right. Nikos didn’t ask how. He thought how was implied in the question. And many would assume that, too. Plus there are plenty of people who passive-aggressively answer literally when they know full well what someone is asking. James was appropriately gracious to apologize, but would have done better not to shift blame or insist he wasn’t being rude. A better response might have been,

  • Sorry for the misunderstanding. I didn’t intend to be rude. Here’s the answer.

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