Wednesday, 13 April 2016

I thought I could communicate

a simple message to an intelligent individual. It seems I can't. 
I sent an email to someone yesterday asking whether they wanted something for a group we both belong to. I thought the message was straightforward.
It seems it wasn't. I had a rather odd reply back. It took me a while to untangle what the problem was. I had to send another email with some other information in it about another topic so I added a note to that.
I think we have it sorted out now - as much as it can be but it makes me feel uncomfortable. I can see the Senior Cat's  point, "I don't like those email things. I'd rather talk to someone."
In a way I would too but email does have advantages. What you have told someone is there on the screen. You can read it again - which I did - and make sure that you still think it says what you intended to say - which I did.  In any case I would have thought that "Do you want X for Y?" was a pretty straightforward message.
       "Perhaps they didn't read it all - or read it in a hurry," a neighbour suggested. She had come in for some help in interpreting some instructions that were not well written. We worked those out together very amicably. 
After she had gone though I realised that the problem with the first person was probably something quite different. It wasn't the way I had written  the query at all. It might not even have been the way that person read it. What was much more likely is that we have a rather awkward relationship. Instead of my usual, relaxed style of communication I was being very careful indeed and, oddly, that caused it to be misunderstood.
It all reminded me of the card sitting on my doctoral supervisor's desk which said,
      "I know you think you understood what I said but I am not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant."
It is just too easy not to communicate. 

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