The “Ick” of Being Misunderstood

My friend sent me a two-toned text message yesterday. The first tone was inquiry: Have I told you…? The second tone was conclusive: I’m reaching out because I want to feel the goodness of our connection.

The goodness of our connection. My friend said she was feeling the “ick,” after a rough social situation. She said she felt misunderstood. I was glad she thought of me as a source to dispel these feelings, but she didn’t give me any details about the social situation that made her uncomfortable. That may be because she attends a confidential therapy group and to disclose too much would be to violate the protocols of the session.

I wondered what happened, though. I came up with a possible scenario in my mind. I pictured my friend giving feedback to another person, and that person finding my friend’s perspective offensive. Alternatively, I pictured my friend expressing herself and hearing unexpected feedback from a member of the group. However the situation played out, it’s not hard to imagine feeling misunderstood.

My friend’s text got me thinking about all the measures we constantly take to avoid being misunderstood. Because we don’t want to feel the “ick.” But the thing is, if we dare to be misunderstood, if we dare to experience those icky feelings, we can probably learn a lot about ourselves and each other. No doubt, that’s exactly what her therapy group is for. And I’m sure my friend knows this because she’s a trained therapist herself. I guess what’s interesting about learning and growing is that it never gets comfortable. Vulnerability is the opposite of comfortable.

Anyway, I’m glad I was a source of comfort for my friend. Because we can’t be vulnerable all the time. Sometimes we just need to remember the “goodness of our connection.”

dreamer, poet, philosopher, writer

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