A friend of mine was having a conversation with a woman he’s dating, and he said to her, “I believe our relationship is as intimate as it can be.”
Stop for a moment and think about how you would interpret that sentence.
What he meant was:
“Our relationship is as intimate as it’s gonna get. It’s not going any further than what it is now.”
What she heard was:
“Our relationship is as intimate as it’s possible for a relationship to be! Our intimacy is totally maxed out! It’s at the max! It’s totally at the max!”
Can you see how you could get both interpretations? Intepretation #1 is “Our relationship is as intimate as our relationship can be for us” and interpretation #2 is “Our relationship is as intimate as any relationship can be for anyone.”
Much later, she said to him, “Remember when you said that our relationship is as intimate as it’s possible to be?” He replied, “I never said that!”
Since our memories store concepts, not the exact words that were spoken, each person remembered their own interpretation of the conversation.
It was difficult to reconstruct what had happened, but it boiled down to a miscommunication of that one sentence.
What would you do differently to avoid the same miscommunication?