If things are unexpectedly heating-up in a discussion, make sure that the other person has definitely understood precisely what you had intended to say. Especially, if what you are saying is quite mundane. It could be that you are just being misunderstood.
Filters and intentions
People often hear things through the filter of their own experience. In a sense, this is always true because we are each a product of our life experiences! However, certain situations can heat-up unnecessarily when something that is clearly innocuous or mundane is quite simply being misunderstood.
Remember that while you may find something mundane, the other could receive it through an altogether different filter. Perhaps a filter that is wholly unexpected and even seems unreasonable to you. But, such evaluations are not going to help you lower the temperature.
So, before jumping to defend yourself, consider that something else might very likely be at play that is generating strong emotions in the other. A moment of consideration for them might allow you to calmly de-escalate a situation that could otherwise get very heated. You might even ask the person to repeat back to you what they thought you had said, just to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Beyond being misunderstood
It is one thing for someone to be agitated after they have fully understood your intended meaning. Perhaps, they just don’t like what you have to say! It is quite another thing to have a situation heat-up over a misunderstanding of intentions. The latter is avoidable (provided the person is not acting in bad faith).
However, all this calls on you to consider that something deeper might be at play in the mind of the other. To pause and allow the space to work through this, rather than rush into a confrontation.
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.