Signals and interpretation

We were cracking up earlier about a recent time when I sent my wife a signal that I was annoyed.

In the absence of any verbal communication, she however perceived this action as a sweet gesture.

It was a great example of how an intended message can be completely misinterpreted. This happened between two people who’ve spent most of the past fifteen years in really close proximity.

Is there any reason to be surprised when someone we don’t know that well misunderstands our intent during the course of a normal day?

The lesson I took away from this was about resetting my expectations about the effectiveness of communication. Perhaps I’d make more progress if I started by assuming that both the intent and the message would be misinterpreted.

And, perhaps I ought instead to be surprised if the misinterpretation doesn’t happen.