If you've ever played Chinese Whispers (also known as the telephone) you know that communication fails, sometimes with funny results too.
And what better way to spend your Internet data than to enjoy people running into hilarious everyday situations? From a husband failing to buy the groceries his wife asked for to a diner unable to respond to the waiter, here are some of the best misunderstandings people have shared online.
However, we must be careful as these kinds of misunderstandings can lead to conflicts as well. I mean, just think how many times couples have started fighting after one person misinterpreted what the other said or done.
Heidi Grant Halvorson, a social psychologist at Columbia Business School who has researched how people perceive one another, said people don't realize they are not coming across the way they think they are.
"If I ask you about how you see yourself—what traits you would say describe you—and I ask someone who knows you well to list your traits, the correlation between what you say and what your friend says will be somewhere between 0.2 and 0.5. There's a big gap between how other people see us and how we see ourselves," Halvorson told The Atlantic.
According to her, this gap often arises from what psychologists call 'the transparency illusion'—people's belief that what they feel, desire, and intend is crystal clear to others, even though they have done very little to communicate clearly what is going on inside their minds.
"Chances are, how you look when you are slightly frustrated isn't all that different from how you look when you are a little concerned, confused, disappointed, or nervous. Your 'I'm kind of hurt by what you just said' face probably looks an awful lot like your 'I'm not at all hurt by what you just said' face. And the majority of times that you've said to yourself, 'I made my intentions clear,' or 'He knows what I meant,' you didn't and he doesn't."
The answer to these problems lies within us. "If you want to solve the problem of perception," Halverson added, "it’s much more practical for you to decide to be a good sender of signals than to hope that the perceiver is going to go into phase two of perception. It's not realistic to expect people to go to that effort. Can you imagine how exhausting it would be to weigh every possible motivation of another person? Plus, you can't control what's going on inside of another person's mind, but you can control how you come across."