Contributed by Jean S.

I am not a fan of horror movies.  All that blood and gore turns me off.  But I am a fan of satire and comedies.  Tucker and Dale are too self-proclaimed hillbillies heading out to their dilapidated cabin in the woods for a vacation of fishing and drinking beer.  A group of college co-eds are also vacationing in the same spot and when one of their friends goes missing, they assume that Tucker and Dale are two serial-killer cannibals that have kidnapped their friend.

One by one the co-eds are killed in gruesome accidents as they try to rescue their friend.  The point of the movie besides making us laugh, is to challenge our assumptions and how easily we fall under their spell.  The co-eds assume that Tucker and Dale are inbred and stupid because they wear flannel shirts and are drinking beer in the woods.  As they overhear a conversation about how Dale ‘beat a smart college girl’ they assume it is a physical beating and not a mental one where he outwitted her.

It made me think about how I may over-think the meaning of a statement based on assumptions or past experiences.  It reminds me off all the times someone said to me ‘but what you meant to say was.’  I know I used to make lots of assumptions about what people meant when they were speaking.  Over the years, I have learned to ask clarifying questions before I get upset to make sure I understand them.  I have found that most of the time, when I am starting to get upset with someone, clarification clears the whole thing up.  The reason why I was upset was because I misunderstood what they were saying and have taken it as an insult which couldn’t be farther than the truth.

As a manager, I also have to be a mediator when it comes to feuds between employees.  Not once, has the statement made been interpreted correctly.  After both sides have explained themselves, each person has a better understanding of each other.

What do you do to overcome misunderstandings?