shifting mists
2001-11-20 04:34:40 (UTC)

contemplating communication ...

.. i have noticed lately .... or rather, it has been brought to my
attention lately that society ... humanity in general ... has a habit
if taking it for granted when speaking with others (or writing, etc.)
that everyone defines certain terms/words the same ... when in fact,
no matter what Webster says, deep within our minds we each build our
own definitions ....

... i find it interesting to watch as once again normal everyday
terms we use with each other seem to have completely different
perspectives/meanings for those involved in discussions .... the
inconvenience of defining our terms before beginning each discussion
is, of course, inconvenient and time consuming in itself ..... as is
defining terms as they come along .... after all, how do we know
which terms we share views/definitions of with the person we are
speaking to .. and which that we do not ....

.. as an example ... i recently ...or well, not so recently anymore i
guess ... nearing the end of a relationship with a past partner that
i was in a relationship with for two years ... the subject was
brought to our attention that during the entire relationship the two
of us remained completely oblivious to the fact that each of us had
drastically opposing definitions of the word 'flirting' .... for him,
it was defined as being a tease .. a cock-tease ... unsavory in the
extreme to be sure ...... for me, it was defined as being
overtly 'friendly' ... a bigger smile .. a tighter hug ... but
definitely not teasing nor composed of any sort of unsavory ulterior
motive besides being nice and drawing attention from someone i
liked ...

... due to these two opposing view points we had ManY
disagreements .... NOT based on any behavior he may have witnessed ..
but because i called that behavior 'just flirting' when ever the
subject was brought up .... it never occurred to either of us that
the other viewed the term 'flirting' differently ....

.... or as another example, when a couple never sits down and defines
ToGetTHeR what 'cheating' is .... fore it seems that almost
~everyone~ has their own definition of this ... and yet so many
people enter into relationships without ever talking about this
subject at all ... just assuming that they both define 'cheating' as
the exact same thing .. the exact same actions ...

... this begs the question of how people are able to communicate at
all .. or ... are most/all conversations between people simply the
expression of completely misunderstood ideas? ... misunderstood due
to separate experiences and separate definitions of the terms
involved in expressing their ideas and views? ...

.... it makes me wonder about all the negativity and disruption
spread around us .... in our homes. ... in others lives ..... it
makes me wonder how much of that is really just the kinds of
misunderstandings i describe hidden in the disguise of our ignorance
and/or assumptions about others ....

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