Communication: a matter of understanding
Do you ever feel that you're having a perfectly reasonable and sensible conversation with someone and they look at you blankly as though you're speaking a foreign language? Yes, me too at times and I speak very quickly, which doesn't help.
There can be many reasons why the other person in the conversation is struggling to understand you including a hearing problem, age difference, trouble processing language or that English is a second or third language for them.
There are other barriers too which may be less obvious such as mindset, emotional or mental state, lack of context, delivery style, the message, topic and so on. While this isn't necessarily a problem it can be if it continues and particularly in a close relationship or work environment. Being an effective communicator is a skill that takes effort and experience and requires patience and commitment and not everyone is prepared to do that; we all get lazy sometimes, particularly with those we know well.
The fact is though that, while the other person may be blaming the person doing the talking for not being clear, it is actually the responsibility of both people in the conversation to ensure understanding. This is particularly relevant in a workplace setting, at any time when important instructions are being relayed, in times of danger or when there is an urgent message to be delivered.
Part of the problem is that we all have a unique view of the world and how we interpret it, which includes hearing what we want to hear and only selecting information and details that reinforce what we believe to be true already.
In a conversational context it means that I am not necessarily hearing what you are saying in the way you intend it to be heard and I'm only taking the part of the message that makes sense to me already, provided I'm actually listening in the first place that is. My interpretation makes perfect sense to me but may be far removed from the intent of the other person and that can create a real problem. If you have children then you may be able to relate.
At times it can become a "he said, she said” situation with two parties being entirely at odds about whether something was said or not, how it was said and the intent behind it. In other words, open to interpretation or rather misinterpretation and conflict can escalate as a result.
The next time you are in conversation, particularly an important one, you may like to make sure that your words are understood as you intended.
When we take a moment to notice how our words are being interpreted by another person and vice versa, we learn a lot.