Many people do not communicate well because they do not listen well. Active listening means hearing and acknowledging what someone says. Listening impatiently while waiting to speak is not listening. Interpreting what someone says is not listening. People who lack good communication skills listen, but only for what they want to hear. They often listen, not with a desire to understand what someone is saying, but find ‘loopholes’ is someones thinking. A poor listener looks for ways to attack, contradict and shoot down what others are saying.
Ostensibly, he says that he is trying to ‘interpret’ what someone else is saying. What he is doing is that rather than listening and acknowledging what is said, he is trying to bring the conversation over to his agenda, his way of thinking. He is trying to ‘control’ the conversation rather than participate in it.
This crazy behavior on several counts. First, most people don’t want their words ‘interpreted’, they want them heard and acknowledged. In a healthy flow of conversation, there is give and take. I say something and you respond to what I have said. You say something and I respond to what is said. In good conversation, we may occasionally ask for clarification, but typically we understand what someone has said and simply respond.
Next, ‘interpreting’ someones words is an arrogant assumption that they won’t make sense unless someone wiser explains them. People who continually feel the need to restate what others have said, are essentially second guessing them. They are insinuating that what the other person has said wasn’t said in a way that ‘people understand’. Usually, the only person who didn’t understand was the person trying to interpret what was said. And the reason he didn’t understand was that he didn’t want to or try to understand.
Trying to ‘interpret’ someones words means that you are trying to put your own spin on what is being said. ‘Interpreting’ someones words leads to misunderstanding and putting words in someones mouth. If you don’t understand what someone is saying, ask for explanation. Don’t try to lure them into saying something that you want to hear or think they should be saying. If you are still unclear about their words, consider whether you are not listening properly or acknowledging what they are saying.
You don’t have to like what someone else says. We do have the right to an alternate opinions. If you disagree, is that the end of the world? You may not be able to persuade each other and may have to leave it at that. If there is antagonism, perhaps it’s time to move out of the conversation. For more on communication, visit my blogs attached.