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Marketing / Business relationships

Being misunderstood

If there’s one breed of person I have little time for, it’s so called shock jocks. These talk radio DJs earn fabulous sums by making provocative and often offensive comments… all in the name of entertainment.

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I remember reading an interview with a shock jock’s wife who claimed “The poor guy feels misunderstood because he’s actually very quiet and sensitive.

This supposedly softer side is kept well under wraps while he’s on air. Meanwhile, his bigotry influences tens of thousands of people.

Those who complain about being misunderstood put the onus on others to decipher what they’re ‘really’ like. It’s unfair to expect others to dig around for the right message because, quite naturally, people take one another at face value.

Therefore, we need to take full responsibility for how we behave.

Gandhi said “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” It’s true that people with a positive nature favour transparency, behave consistently and are at ease with themselves.

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony"

Meantime, misunderstood moaners are prone to muddled thinking, are easily upset and often seem unhappy in their own skin.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business relationships section.

I realise people are complex, layered and prone to moods and there will always be a margin of error between what we give out and what others interpret. For example, you may assume you’re behaving one way (amusing/risqué) while others are picking up different signals (sarcastic/rude).

But if we can work towards consistency in our thoughts and behaviour, we’ll find others responding more positively in return.

I believe this is at the heart of healthy relationships with friends and family, as well as clients and prospects.

Do you often feel you are being misunderstood? Is it confronting to think this could be your fault? Or is what you see what you get? 

For what it’s worth, I can often have an about face during a single conversation, so don’t know where I get off spouting on about consistency.

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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