Saturday, 2 March 2013

lost in translation

Every one of us experiences a moment where what we say is misconstrued. Sometimes its a language barrier (people are always embarrassed when they accidentally say they're embarazada) or a slang confusion (did you meet him or did you meet him) and sometimes people just hear things their own way (e.g. I know you said you look great today but you meant you looked shit yesterday).
With the rise of technology these little slips of the tongue, or in this case slips of the finger, can lead to outrageous dramatic shit slinging wars. It's much easier to say things over the internet-you can call someone a gobshite for writing there instead of their. True it takes a certain kind of person to start a fight over the internet but its easy to get offended by the written word.
Today a friend made a comment about some guys in a music video being 'sticks' (implying that they were lanky in structure) since I had said they weren't my type of guys. However another friend took the terms 'sticks' in the sense of 'homosexuals' (a slang neither I nor the original friend were familiar with) as I had implied the video was a little homoerotic (a lot of guys in it dancing together). This sparked a (minor) altercation between the two with one objecting to the terminology and the other attempting to defend himself while not understanding the reason for the offence.
It fascinated me how quick we are as humans to become defencive or confrontational. I'll admit that I too do it. A friend once pointed out to me at a party that there was fluff from my hoody under my armpits. I heard him incorrectly and was furious, thinking that I had unwittingly ventured out with stubbly armpits and that my friend had highlighted the fact in front of other people. I was quite embarrassed and apologetic when I realised his true meaning on a later trip to the bathroom and finally understood why he had failed to see what he'd done to offend me.
As a woman I'll admit that we often expect men to read between the lines and to understand when we've taken something the wrong way.You feel like if you tell someone what they did and they apologise that they don't really mean it but we never realise that maybe this means they never meant to hurt or offend in the first place. Things just got lost somewhere along the way. Someone forgot the boundaries, someone mistook the radius of the comfort zone or someone simply misread the situation or statement.
The most difficult thing is owning up to misunderstanding, misspeaking or miscommunicating. Or perhaps the most difficult thing is to retract a reaction to an over-reaction.

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