braindribbles

When communication goes awry

Posted on: 03/04/2013

Sometimes things don’t turn out how you plan. Maybe something unexpected happens. Maybe you thought you would have the cash for something you really wanted and were waiting for for months, and then you realise you just don’t have that kind of money. You had put off facing the obvious truth because you weren’t ready to believe it. It wouldn’t be the first time I wanted to do something and only later realised the money wasn’t there.

So that happened to me a while back, and I had to let some people down. So I sent an apologetically toned email explaining the situation.

Then I received an email from one of those people a few weeks later, asking me if I could change my mind. So I explained again, much more fully, that it just wasn’t an option, even though I was sad that I couldn’t make it work out. It took me a long time to write, because the person who sent the email is important to me.

I received a two sentence reply. The response implied that they didn’t understand that I cared. That I had spent a long time trying to find a solution to the problem and failed. Even though I had said so, in the email. Extensively.

I love email, it keeps me in touch with people I would otherwise lose entirely. But sometimes it really sucks as a form of communication.

Or maybe it just sucks because people choose to read what they want, no matter what words are in front of them. When I read the two sentence reply, I felt that my correspondent wanted to be offended. If I had been able to call, maybe that person would have been offended anyway. My inability to produce a magic wand and make it all better appears to have made me the wrongdoer.

Or maybe  am choosing to read what want from that person’s short reply. I still feel there is a lack of understanding or perspective due to the words used, but maybe no offence has been taken. Maybe it is me reading into it. That’s the thing with email and written forms of communication. It’s too easy to assume how the other person is thinking when they write it.

I don’t really have a solution here. It just worries me that a few emails can seemingly create a faultline in such a cherished relationship. It has weighed on my mind for some time already. I will wait, and hope for understanding. If it doesn’t come, it doesn’t come. And that really would be a shame.

Has anyone else had this kind of experience? Or maybe read something into someone else’s words that wasn’t there?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: