Tag Archives: miscommunication

When it’s NOT your fault…Do not accept the blame.

stop-565609_640I know how to use a pump at the gas station. I have been doing it for 33 years.  So when I pull up at a pump, exit my car, open my gas tank and insert my credit card, I KNOW what to expect.

This is what happens

Is this credit or debit?
Push the button next to the choice.

Enter Zip code on the keypad below
I punch in the Zip code that I have had for 20 years!

I know what happens next ….
The screen tells me to fill up with the fuel of my choice…
Except when it does NOT and kicks me back to the “Insert Card Here” screen.

Oh, I think to myself I must have made a mistake, my brain says, you did not make a mistake… But the screen tells me to start again, so I start again.

Credit or debit?
Enter Zip code.
Screen again kicks me back to “Insert Card here.”

Dear Reader, now I am perplexed, so I try again 3 more times and on the third time I slow down my process at a  s n a i l’s pace.  And I am intentional about each choice and I read the screen out loud, so I look like a crazy person but I am already feeling quite crazy!

I begin to enter the Zip code
Let’s say it’s 12345
I enter
The screen says
I enter 2
The screen says 12
I enter 3
The screen says
YES you read that right
I enter 3 again
The screen says 12
I enter 3 4
The screen says 124 but it should say 1234
Oh, I see, the fault is in the screen and the system NOT with me.
I smile.

Jump into the car, go to another pump and now we are good to go.

As soon as I get into the car, I make notes to myself so I can remember to write a blog about what is and is not our fault.

This is what I wrote…
“Gas station keypad bells and whistles work but numbers are wrong. ”

It occurred to me that this is often what happens when there is miscommunication that often leads to violence.

Person A says ONE
Person B hears Won
Person A says TWO
Person B hears TOO

The sounds are the same but whatever person B is hearing makes NO sense at all…

Won Too?

Who won what? Somebody else also won something, somebody else, won too?

Person A continues to speak and says THREE.

Person B is still wondering about who won what and who else was there and what did they win too…

Person A says EIGHT

Person B hears ATE

Who won what, who ate what, what the heck is going on?

We must be able to recognize situations where things LOOK like they  work, or should work, but in reality things are really quite broken on the inside.

We cannot know that the brand new shiny man approaching us is broken on the inside or that he has a tendency to hit and curse at his “loved” ones because they don’t follow his commands.

Why do I use the words “command?”

I use the word Command, because a true question allows the responder to say a full and complete NO without need for explanation or guilt.

When we say NO, and the receiver of that NO becomes enraged and abusive, it is exactly like that electric screen at the gas station… You have input a value, in this case a NO, and the person who is hearing the NO, cannot receive it or process it, and things get crazy.

Something is broken in that person AND and it is NOT your job to fix it.

It may be your job to RUN!

I do hope that this makes sense to you, let me know what you think.


Love and light,


May I have some change for the bus?


It happened so quickly.change via leadchangegroup

I did not feel like walking down the subway steps to take the train and the bus stop was right there. I also did not want to waste money on a taxi.

I walked into the yogurt shop and said, “Do you have change for the bus?”
I then saw the smile fade from his face.

At first I was confused…but then I realized what he was thinking.
So I quickly said, “Oh, do you think I am begging for bus fare?”
He nodded his head and I said, “No, I would like to trade you dollars for quarters.”

He was visibly relieved.
I knew I had a blog post.
What a gift to have seen on his face what he was thinking.

Here are some of the possible thoughts:
Oh no, not another pan handler!
Lady, get outta here!
I don’t have time for this!

It really made me realize that we humans open our mouth and speak…but we have NO CLUE what the listener hears.
THIS time, I was able to SEE it plain and simple.
I was able to address his concern and speak different words so he understood what I was saying.
I traded the dollars for quarters and left the shop.

The next time you say something and someone responds in a way that you don’t understand, take a step back and look for signs that something is already awry. It may be that the conversation just began but there is already miscommunication and nothing good can happen there.

It is best to try to get to the heart as soon as possible.

It is best to try to get back on track as soon as possible.

Is it easy?
There is no formula to fix it, but a simple “What did you understand from what I said?” may help.

Know what I can’t shake though?
The fact that there are thousands of folks out there who really need bus fare but they are faced with more rejection than they can handle.
But that’s another post isn’t it?
Love and light,