Friends, the old saying “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me” is not true. Words can hurt. And that hurt often lasts longer than a bruise or broken bone ever would. I think we can all agree on that.As a writer, I’m always trying to find the right words to say what I have to say, the way I want to say it. Communication is complicated.
Sometimes people intentionally try to hurt others with their words. Anger is the enemy of communication. In the children’s Disney movie Bambi, Thumper the rabbit gives some good advice: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”Adult movies have communication woes too. From Cool Hand Luke the famous “What we have here is failure to communicate,” line that puts the problem right out there, doesn't it? In Taxi Driver Robert De Niro’s character asks “Are you talking to me?” And Jeff Daniels character in Dumb and Dumber doesn’t have it figured out yet either: “Yeah I called her up, she gave me a bunch of crap about me not listening to her or something. I don't know, I wasn't really paying attention.”
But what’s worse than name calling or not paying attention to one another is when we think we’re communicating well and the other person takes what was said completely differently than how it was meant. That particular communication problem, to me, is the most devastating because what was initially intended to be a positive somehow becomes a negative. Knots in communication cause emotional responses that make the tangle even harder to straighten out.
Think about it. When you’re attacked through communication you can fight back, but when miscommunication happens it’s so much more devastating. Getting back on track is a delicate undertaking.
Would you rather be mad or upset?
“Please don't interrupt me when I'm asking rhetorical questions.” - Laurence Fishburne: Mission Impossible III
And finally, the Real Word about all of this he-said-she-said:
“…for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:37