We have all said it at one point or another in response to a text/email received, “I thought you were being rude/mean.” I have certainly done this before, and it is curious how easy a place it is to get to. I can read a book, and not assume the writer was steeping every sentence in hurtful sarcasm. The same can be said for poetry. Yet with friends/acquaintances we are extremely quick to jump to the conclusion they are being rude. Why?
We are quick to blame technology for creating a communication method where everything “Sounds like it is mean, and causes misunderstandings.” I don’t think technology is to blame though, and this is why. People have been writing for several thousand years. Writing things down, so it could be transmitted to someone near, far, wherever they are, and the better part of this writing seems to be without such confusion.
People waited for the mail, hoping desperately for word from loved ones, friends, and family from afar. They would receive these letters, and cherish the words which were written. If you question this idea, ask your grandparents about any old letters they received, I’d be surprised if there was a negative memory connected to any of the letters received (except of course for news of someone passing, or the off chance they were threatened). The majority of telegraphs sent would have been short, sweet, and to the point due to the cost per character.
Within the last fifteen years communication by email, texting, Facebooking, or whichever tech you would like to reference. All of a sudden, everyone in your life who loves you, says hateful/hurtful things to you. Seems highly unlikely a change in the method of communication would cause everyone to become a jackass to the people in their lives. It seems more likely we are just becoming paranoid. Things written as neutral become negative, and positive things become condescending sarcasm.
It might be time we started expecting the best from people. If you can read something either way, read it in the positive way. If you decide to translate their message as a veiled negativity, you are making a statement about how you view the person. You are saying, “I expect the worst from you.” Is this how you would like others to view you, I know I would rather be looked at in a positive light.
“Why do texts and emails cause so many misunderstandings?” Because many times they are being read with a negative attitude.