Avoiding Miscommunication in Competitive Conversation.

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I had the fantastic opportunity of moving to San Francisco recently; into a single room dorm with shared bathrooms in the hall, and just a short elevator ride to the lobby from the fourth floor right in the middle of a bustling city. Meeting people outside of school while simultaneously living full time in a new city has never been a problem for me — apps like Coffee Meets Bagel, the Meetup App, and of course, Snapchat.

I can definitively advocate for virtual chat rooms, especially when people are open and accepting towards another person and their perspective regarding controversial topics including; “Is masculinity dying in 2020?”, “What does beauty mean, how has it been defined over the past 3 years?” and “Does gender inequality still exist?”. To avoid miserably failing to communicate adequately in a conversation full of competing views, I did what any logical person would do in a Snapchat group chat… ASK QUESTIONS.

I always ask questions when I feel intrigued or uneducated about what someone says or views a subject the way they do. Their vision is essential, especially when talking points on the subject of gender inequality. No one person can relate to both aspects of the sides of an equation, and even if that person can, everyone is different.

In a virtual chat room while chatting about “Women fighting for the corporate ladder,” I had asked a question to a charming lady in the group. We had gotten along and noticed similar interests. Until I asked this charming lady:

“Why do you think women have to fight harder now than they did 10 years ago?”

I can’t describe her response without coming off as anything but dramatic. I assume my question was implied that I was scrutinizing the charming lady’s point of view. I had to put out a small fire immediately, I knew that scrutiny was not my intent and I had lacked effectively communicating my question. I refrained from a multitude of questions that I had regarding the short rant before 30 other people and me. To ensure that there was no miscommunication, I added more information as to why I was asking. I told her that I wasn’t questioning her beliefs, and the basis of my question was to learn more details on her perception. I concluded a semi-long paragraph with a TL;DR for the whole group.

“Any question pointed to a particular view or comment that I post in this chat, is to become more and more educated about why people feel the way they do. Everyone’s opinion should be seen as valid, important, and I treat it as such. When something is said that I don’t understand, I will ask why. Not to question your beliefs, but to see concepts in your point of view.”

A warm response from the virtual group chat was filled with accolades of “Well Done!” and “Well Said.”

Miscommunication happens all the time. Apologies might have to be said. Being able to understand how other people may feel is crucial. Keeping an open mind is essential, and showing that there was no malicious intent might save you from getting kicked out of a virtual Snapchat group chat.

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Aspiring Programmer and Internet Entrepreneur striving to make the world a more unified and connected place.

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Joshua W. Riley

Joshua W. Riley

Aspiring Programmer and Internet Entrepreneur striving to make the world a more unified and connected place.

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