Inaccurate Explanation

A little innacuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation – SAKI

Off the top of my head as usual, I have very little to say about this except that it makes perfect sense to Me. I truly wish I could use innacuracy more often. But to me it is lying.

I suppose I might use it if for example I want to say that I didn’t go to a party because I had a terrible headache where in fact I was actually feeling so blah and unconfident that I was afraid that I would clear the room with my bad attitude and feel even worse about myself afterwards. Actually I just thought of where I do use inaccuracy every single day, over and over. At work when talking to customers as is polite in Australian society, we start all conversations with ‘How are you?’ I used to hate that as I thought it a pointless exchange of inaccurate information, but if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. So I use it just as a way of showing goodwill and my keen wish to help, because it comes through with your tone of voice. Here is the inaccuracy – nearly everyone will respond  with a “Fine thank you” or “Good thanks” if you are Aussie and for a while there I used “Excellent!!” which continued to use for a while out of habit, even on the days when I could scream. The voice doesn’t lie though and on those days, I would not get the same response from the person at the other end of the line. I think I will listen for more tone of voice today when talking to people in those first few seconds; do a little social experiment. That would be interesting. Perhaps I can predict whether their service need is dire or everyday.

Anyway I digress, so we mostly all say ‘Fine’ instead of, ‘Well my lower back has been hurting, I have a rotten headache, I am so full of energy I could jump up and down, I feel fantastic because I am losing weight’ etc etc. What is the question supposed to mean anyway? Is it to do with your health , your wellbeing or your happiness levels? Very few people accurately answer this question – you can only read the tone of voice signals or body language.

Where was I? Ah yes, my problem is that, when excited, I ‘talk in detail’ and when I am doing it, off on a rant sometimes, I have to keep reining myself in. Too much explanation. I often use the words ‘to cut a long story short’ and then do my absolute best. It is a skill I am learning and one I can usually employ in the right situations if need be. You have to read the cues of the person you are talking to. Are they looking at their watch, looking irritated, smiling, leaning towards you etc? Of course you don’t have a checklist, it is all very subtle and instantaneous. And if I get it wrong because I am just too excited about my current subject and misread the cues the other person may suddenly come out with something like ‘you talk in too much detail’ or ‘calm yourself’. Ouch!

So where can I comfortably use inaccuracy? I could certainly not give so much detail. It is all about condensing. I had this idea a couple of months ago – haha recently – that one day as an old lady I might be required to reduce my belongings to fit in one room. I am currently spread out in a reasonable sized house with a lot of storage space. This idea made me think about what is of value. How do I condense my belongings? How do I condense who I am, the interests I am likely to have forever and the ones I can discard , knowing that I will probably never return to them once they are out of sight and once I have made this decision? How can I keep a tiny taster of the myriad of interests that I have? A tiny craft kit for each of the crafts I think I would like to take up again? I know I am off track for the quote here but I am enjoying this condensing analogy. So we can condense our lives, minds, friends, jobs, hobbies, computers and also words. Do I want to condense?

I have a friend who asks me for even more detail when we talk and I love that about her. She is completely unique – Hi Viv! We ‘get ‘ each other, this need to talk in detail, to build a story and immerse ourselves in the scene. She gets the hoarding of information, cutting up magazines and not being able to discard them until every page of interest is removed for further perusal. Are we likely candidates for ‘Extreme Hoarders’? Can I see myself in those people? I hoard words, stories and experiences, all ready to come crashing out, like when you open that hall cupboard door and the contents explode.

So back to the inaccuracy. Oh so hard. I would rather condense but if I could get a toolbox of inaccurate explanations for things, perhaps if I relate the same story more than once I might become comfortable using them. Problem is, being so enthusiastic and impulsive, and so darn full of information I seem wired to share, I never know which tale will come out when and they are never alike. I guess I am honest and what I say I really believe to be true. I have discovered that it sometimes isn’t, with hindsight but I was doing my best with what I had at the time.

What if someone calls you on the innacuracy, like you say your daughter isn’t here today because she had to go to the doctor and they ask what is wrong? Then you are in the realm of lying and I have experienced from others a litany of lies and know the web it weaves and destructiveness of that. I can see how the lies don’t mesh and trip the liar up. I do actually listen. It is good being analytical, even if it does cause analysis paralysis sometimes because you take in what people are saying. Their information meshes with with what you know and you build upon your knowledge and come to conclusions. Then you can recall the information later and if the new information they give you doesn’t compute with what you have stored – bingo – warning bells. Perhaps because I hate deception so much, I cannot be a party to even inaccuracy. White lies are all very well and I absolutely will use them if the relationship is more important than my own silly judgement and opinion of something, but relationship is always at the fore when I am communicating; not the words, or the explanation or even the content.

It takes more imagination to come up with the inaccuracy therefore I would rather use my mind to condense instead. If I can get into the habit of only using one word instead of three, that would be a great skill to develop but to only use when necessary.

Goodness, now I really am off track. I am out of time so I will sum up today’s thinking with this. Regarding communication, the reason for the conversation needs to be taken into account. If it is just an exchange of information, go for it, condense, be innacurate all you like.

In other situations such as telling a story, the recipient would enjoy the tons of explanation. We need to know the difference and wear different hats. It is hard to leave a part of your personality at home when you work. Personality comes to the fore. We may much prefer animated conversation, and be uncomfortable with pregnant pauses or silence or short, cold exchanges.

So, if the point of the conversation is to enjoy the exchange and build relationships, do away with the inaccuracy and forget this advice!

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