Do you remember yourself being an active person who could easily talk to anybody? You must have been very communicative and you had no troubles meeting new people and making friends with them. You have probably had a few real friends with whom you could share anything you want and be listened and understood.
Today, for some reason, your friends simply don’t get what you’re saying. Whenever you try to talk to them about yourself it seems like they don’t want to listen. It irritates you and you’re getting a little bit nervous. Your friends, seeing that you’ve got nervous can say something like “why are you acting so strange?”, “what’s wrong with you?”
And you’d be like “What’s wrong with me? Nothing is wrong with me. It’s you who don’t want to listen to me.” In the evening you get back home and you feel misunderstood, ignored, a little bit doubtful and maybe sad.
You might have noticed that these situations happened because you started speaking about something else, something unusual for your friends, mates or parents. You’re probably somewhere in your 20s or maybe you’ve just started thinking about changing your environment regardless of your age.
You’ve entered the period of your conscious growth and now you’re looking for yourself. You want to define who you’re or who you want to be. You’re rethinking and reconsidering your life. In this period you’re more than ever interested in finding the support from your family, friends or other people.
You want to know if they’re bothered with the same problems, having the same interests and if you’re still on the same level as they are. You also noticed that for some time you started speaking more about yourself and your goals. You’re now interested in you.
I’ve been there. It happened to me when I went to the university. The whole world has changed then. The uni was in a different city and I visited my hometown first time after spending a half a year of my study. Everything in my town was so familiar and seemingly friendly.
The first thing I did, I called my friends and asked them for a walk. We were so excited to meet after 6 months. First 5 minutes of our conversation were just fine. Then I found out that we have nothing to talk about. They were still concerned with the same problems they had 6 months ago, spoke about the same things, nothing has changed much. And I, I felt like a was a different person.
Also, I felt like they are not my friends anymore because our interests are so different now. I was thinking about how I can improve my skills and get better in my studies, and they were telling me about how sweet they were kicking asses in Battlefield 4.
“Oh, man! It was such a nice game. I played for an engineer and I was just destroying everybody. I stole a tank and was punching everybody’s faces. And, honestly, I don’t like snipers. They are trash. They can’t do anything on the battlefield and I can just drive over them in a tank.”
I was like “Oh, that’s impressing.” “But, guys, what do you think about your future?”
“Errr, we don’t know. We would rather not think about it now. It’s complicated.” “So, next time I’ve stolen a freaking jet and that was a massacre…”
Whatever I tried to talk about our conversation ended with games or politics. Well, it was a big misunderstanding. I was totally ignored. Because of that, I didn’t want our conversation to continue.
As I started to learn about myself, I felt even more disconnected from the world. I started feeling alone.
I tried to find a girlfriend back then. (Don’t ever try to find a girlfriend when you feel alone). Well, I tried in my head. I wanted to find a girlfriend but never actually tried. There were days when I had enough courage to call a girl when I was in my hometown and asked her for a walk.
As you can imagine, It was a total disaster. For the most part of our walk, I was talking about myself, my growth, goals, visions, future, even mathematics. Just so you can understand my math expertise, I can’t calculate properly from the first try even using a freaking calculator. Just kidding. But we had a cool teacher of mathematical logic at the uni and I loved learning it. Even more, I loved to show off what I learned. Well, It took me 5 attempts to pass my first exam in this subject.
So, here I was, my friends didn’t understand me, girls thought that I was a “nice nerdy guy” (and I was) and I thought that all of them were stupid. I was really stuck in this loop of self-development and growth.
The reason why I always found myself being misunderstood and my words misinterpreted was because I had no clue of what I was willing to achieve through the conversation.
I couldn’t understand that there is time to learn, and there is time to chill and have fun. There are things that you should tell your parents and things that you should speak about when you’re with your friends. And talking to girls (for guys) is a whole different story depending on what you’re willing to get.
If you want to be understood you must set your communication goals. For example, if you want to complain to somebody and that somebody wants to have fun, they will probably think that you’re trying to blame them in all of your miseries and failures. And vice versa. If they want to complain and you’re too happy today, they may think that you’re trying to make fun of them.
Know what you want to say and what you want to hear in response. If you have not figured it out you better not say anything.
Misunderstanding happens only when you choose the wrong moment or the wrong people to talk about “your things” when others are interested in themselves. And usually, people are always interested in themselves. Even your parents. Sometimes, you can be misunderstood when you talk too much and try to explain yourself here and there.
“Hello, mom. Yeah, I’m okay. I’m not hungry. I’m not cold. I’m not sick. I ate some soup and drank tea with a sandwich. Are you okay? Cool. Bye.” If this your conversation with your mom, then do not ever try to change it. Don’t speak about your goals, don’t speak about your failures unless it’s some serious thing that must be said.
Just don’t do it. Seriously, do not do it. What you say will most likely be misunderstood and seen as “rebellious”.
Usually, parents care about your safety and anything like “I want to find a job”, “I want to go to another city”, “I want to start riding a bike” is unsafe to them. Most likely you’ll hear a list of warnings and “don’ts” in your address. All these things may kill your dreams. And this is your number one goal when you talk to your parents. You don’t want them to kill your dreams. The second goal is that you want them to believe that you are safe and sound.
I’m not here to disrupt your relationships with parents in any case. I hope your parents are always willing to listen to you and understand your problems, and they will take any action to help you. In this case, “help” means “support”. If you want to make a change and you hear: “It’s a good choice honey, give it a shot. But be safe.” then you have the best parents in the world.
When you talk to your friends you must be able to stay on the same level with them and avoid your sophisticated topics if it’s not your common interest, of course. Let your conversation flow naturally.
Usually, when you’re with your friends it’s implied that you should be having fun and not a philosophical lecture. Let your problems go. Concentrate on getting the most out of your conversation with friends. Joke, laugh, mess around. Feel the moment of connection with your friends where no problems exist, and you can be the stupidest person on earth and be valued for that.
It’s not with your friends you grow, it’s when you find your allies or enemies. Friends do not help you improve. Enemies do. You don’t want to be better than your friends, you want to prove things to those who challenge you.
When you’re talking to a girl the last thing you want to do is trying to be nerdy. Some girls may like it though. You should never or rarely talk about your problems or that you’re trying to find yourself. There is a fine line between complaining and actually looking for the solution to a problem.
In any case, the worst thing is to complain to a girl if you’re a guy. It shows that you’re a weak or like a cry baby. The best outcome you can expect from that is that you’ll turn into a “she-friend” type of guy or kind of a “drama-friend”. This is horrible. And I’ve seen that.
I don’t know any girl who doesn’t like a man who has decision-making skills, courage and ability to impress her. However, don’t try to impress a girl if you’re faking it. They feel a scam from a thousand miles. Make it seem natural. As if impressing her was a piece of cake for you.
You’re going through the time of changes. Disconnecting from the whole world is a tough thing but it needs to be done if you want to improve. However, I’ve learned that you should not be disconnecting. From people you learn and with people you share. Find your leaders and allies that can help you be at your best. Those who’ll guide you through hard times.
The good thing is that every person around you has something to teach you. When you need to grow bigger than you’re and make a better version of yourself you should find somebody who is better than you at what you like. Learn from this person only that particular thing that you need. It’s even better if you have different people who you can talk to and learn something from them.
The worst thing to do is trying to disconnect from people and become antisocial. Why? Because every person is a book, an audiobook if you please. Everybody has something to teach you and you should be able to find that. Take what works for you, ignore the rest.
Share your story in the comments if you ever found yourself misunderstood or how you set your communication goals!