Miscommunication: Whose fault is it?

16 May 2010 Relationships, School & Study No Comment

Miscommunication

Oftentimes, when information gets to us it comes in bits and pieces; very rarely does it come in its full shape. Because of this, pieces of information are lost in the process of trying to communicate the details from one person to another, which can result in misunderstandings.

If you’re the informant, would you bother to feed more information to the other person to make sure they clearly understood what you were telling them? Or, as long as you told them what you were supposed to, would that just be good enough and would you not care whether or not they understood? On the other hand, as the receiver of information, is it okay to trust what the other person is telling you? Or would you probe further to see if there’s anything they are leaving out, and double-check that the information you are receiving is correct?

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Receiving false information, or not receiving important information at all, happens very often in the school setting. For example: Let’s say you have an afternoon class at school in which you have an assignment due the next week; but at school one day you are told by a friend that the class was canceled that particular afternoon. Because of that information, you don’t bring with you whatever is necessary for that class and the assignment. However, when you set foot into the classroom you see everyone around you working hard on their assignments. The first thing you would most likely do is seek out your friend who told you that class was canceled, asking them why they didn’t follow-up with you and tell you that the class was not canceled after all. A common reply to that would be that they thought they told you, or even they may admit that they completely forgot. Regardless, you are the one in a hard situation, due to false—or undelivered—information from someone you trusted.

Many can relate to this. Perhaps you’ve found yourself at the receiving end, getting information and counting on or expecting something, but ending up being the one who has lost out. Or you may find yourself always being the last to receive information, despite being the first to ask about it; and when details are updated, you are either the last to be notified, or not notified at all, in which case, by then it’s too late to do anything about it. When this happens, it’s easy to feel bitter inside and question why things like this happen to you. As you sit there, you look at your friends—do they look worried or concerned? Of course not! They’re not the ones who got all the wrong information; you are. And because of it you are now facing a difficult situation. You can’t help but wonder why they didn’t bother telling you about the changes. Or, you may even wonder if it was your fault that you didn’t ask them about it further. Where does the blame lie?

Another disappointing aspect of this is that even though you may be the last person to know about things, you are usually the first one who informs everyone else. It’s not necessarily your business to make sure they get information right or wrong, and yet deep down you know that doing so is a sign of responsibility and compassion. However, despite the fact that you’re always trying to help your friends any way you can, you never get the same treatment in return. Instead, you’re the one losing out, while they never seem to have to worry about these things. It is situations like this that can make us feel disappointed in our friends.

When you’re treated this way, it is easy to feel as if your worth as a friend has been undervalued, and that your friends simply are more concerned about themselves than you. In these cases, should you then be more sensible to ask a more trustworthy person instead? Moreover, if you suddenly stopped being the nice friend you are, would things continue on as normal? Would these friends even notice the change in you?

The world is a cold hard place that often adopts the attitude of “every man for himself”. Despite the fact that you are surrounded by friends, there are times you have to do yourself a favor and fulfill your own responsibility as a student to check information on your own. The people around you may be your friends, but friends make mistakes too. So when these things happen, you can’t put all of the blame solely on your friends. Perhaps you should set a reminder for yourself to ask another person to double-check information, such as a class representative who keeps track of things inside and outside of the class.

There is no perfect solution to these kinds of problems, but if you keep things the way they are, it will continue the way it is, until you do something about it.

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