Misread or Misled?

Any conversation you have with someone can be open to interpretation, and there is constant debate as to whether people are harder to read in person or via other messaging means, e.g. email or text messaging. We can’t read someone’s body language, someone’s facial expressions, someone’s reactions to something that we might have said or done, and it’s because of that that some believe this medium of correspondence to be one of the most unreliable when it comes to decoding someone’s message. Of course, if you receive a text saying ‘can you get some milk?’, this is usually self-explanatory and doesn’t need much interpretation. But it’s those equivocal ones that leave us unable to gage the sender’s true feelings and emotions.

If you’re talking about a particular subject, for this example we will use that which we know most about; companionship. Say you’re having a conversation with a friend via text message, rather mundane, not really about anything particular, and then one of you asks ‘What do you do at the weekend?’ and they answer ‘oh, I like to spend time with blonde escorts, the response can be hard to determine if they say ‘oh, nice’. In our digital-age, where we have plenty of phrases that we simply roll off the cuff in response to certain things, this is definitely up there with ‘oh, cool’ and ‘lush’. It doesn’t tell you anything about the reaction it’s garnered. Are they uninterested and couldn’t really care what you do, are they suggesting that what you do of a weekend is something to be ashamed of and have sent a response shrouded in sarcasm? Or could it possibly be they secretly indulge in the same passion, come home time on a Friday? And this is just from one conversation!

Imagine how tricky it gets when you’re trying to get to know someone, and you have absolutely no past exchanges to base it on. It’s when this happens that potentially awkward situations could arise, resulting in you embarrassing yourself because you’ve misread the circumstances. Then again, you could have been intentionally misled, which certainly says more about the other person than you.