“Most quarrels amplify a misunderstanding” ~ Andre Gide
Far too often a misunderstanding between coworkers happen with one of the parties not even realizing that anything wrong actually happened. Our time is so demanded of us, we rush around having multiple things on our minds.
Something is said as one person passes by another, never intending for it to be taken seriously by the other, but who knows where the other person was at that moment in time and how they perceived what just took place. The words rubbed the wrong way.
When situations like this happen we need take action and not allow it to stick. If we do not clear the air quickly it could turn into a dirty situation. What is the best way to “clear the air” when we either feel we have been misunderstood or that possibly we have been the one to misunderstand something?
Go directly to that person as soon as you can and ask “did you understand what I meant when I said …….” Or “I am not sure if I understood what you said about…….” Clear the air right away because if you don’t what could happen?
You may ponder about what you think was said for days, you may form opinions about this person that are based on untruths, and it certainly can affect your work because things like this can consume our thoughts.
I always appreciate when someone comes to me to clear the air about something I said or did as it gives me the opportunity to explain what I really meant or apologize for something I may have said that came out wrong.
Once the air has been cleared we both can feel better because the situation has been handled, the misunderstanding was acknowledged and we can focus on moving forward.
Many times when simple misunderstandings happen people allow them to brew for too long and this is when the air becomes polluted. The more time that passes the less clear the situation can be remembered, especially if one party doesn’t even know what happened.
It’s time to think ecologically about miscommunication in the office and clear the air quickly so everyone can breath better. Misunderstandings are going to happen and when you address them it is like a breath of fresh air for everyone involved.