[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n the world of text messaging, we complain about the amount of times meaning gets lost in translation — the amount of times our “K” texts are perceived as anger, or when and when not to punctuate our sentences. Our circumstances of miscommunication are blamed on the short forms we send across text. Yet, unfortunately, this is not a technological problem.
We make assumptions all the time and we don’t need a cell phone to do it. We are inherently sensitive, destined to take things too personally, and rarely inclined to go beyond our own perspectives. How many times do we read into somebody’s tone of voice? How many times do we twist the words they say into meaning something that maybe they don’t? How many times do we actually take the time to make sure we’re reading into things the right way?
Miscommunication is one of our greatest flaws. We assume things and we don’t have the courage to figure them out. And the worst part is that these assumptions destroy us. They destroy our friendships and our perspectives on people; they destroy our willingness to fight for relationships to stay alive. In a sense, they fuel our isolation. We’ve criticized the way English classes force us to read between the lines and we’ve forgotten that we’re naturals at it — that we use these tactics every single day and we’ve formed our world around the assumptions we’ve created on every kind of interaction.
One sentence has a thousand meanings and with a slight change in pitch suddenly the meanings become personal.
We live in a world where one sentence has a thousand meanings, and a slight change in pitch can suddenly make something intensely personal — targeted at us with harshness behind their syllables. A world where we fail to ask questions because our assumptions guide us to answers might not even exist; thus we perpetuate the bubble of toxicity we’ve created, of always assuming and never understanding or asking. Of never mending the bruises that have developed from these assumptions.
Why are we prone to stop trying, to let broken relationships get the best of us? Because we assume the next will be like the last. We get stuck in a pattern and assume it will perpetuate itself, so we give up before there’s even been a chance to try. We avoid relationships, avoid their repairs, avoid conflict, we let our assumptions dictate every aspect of ours lives, and we will inevitably and irreparably hurt ourselves in the process.
These days, any miscommunication is somehow linked to a text message we sent that we shouldn’t have punctuated. As if miscommunication stems from Facebook messenger and other sources of online conversation — as though this technology can create the problems we so frequently bring up. Has technology worsened our communication? Or were we never that good in the first place? As a communications student, I’m wired to believe the overabundance and heavy reliance on technology is the cause of a lot of our problems. But it’s not.