50 Hilarious Pics Of People Doing Exactly What They Were Asked To Do (New Pics)
Every day, we perform so many tasks that we instantly forget about them. Meeting the deadline at work, picking kids up from school, reserving a dinner table, paying bills, doing this and that; no wonder our heads are spinning by the end of the week.
Whatever we do, even if we do so voluntarily, we have to follow some general rules, sometimes strict instructions or simply common sense to complete each task. But what happens when a person not just does what they’re supposed to do, but does so in such a literal way that it modifies the initial task altogether?
Call it a sense of humor, malicious compliance, a miscommunication, or a human error, but one thing is clear, every now and then, people take stuff at face value. Below Bored Panda wrapped up some of the funniest examples to remind everyone that we had better be clear than sorry. More literally completed jobs await in our previous post here.
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Let’s make one thing clear – people are destined for miscommunication, for one reason or the other. Sometimes it happens by accident, other times it depends on the wrong assumption or interpretation, and other times we do it deliberately to prove a point. Call it an act of malicious compliance, a phenomenon well documented on various online platforms.
At the same time, if we want to make a real connection, miscommunication between us and the other person will break the deal. After all, social interaction follows us everywhere: at work, on a date, while out with friends, or having a coffee with your bff. So how could we possibly gain that confidence to express ourselves so that we are understood? Bruce Lambert, a professor, scientist, and consultant who has taught thousands of people all across the United States how to communicate more effectively, may have some answers.
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First, we have to realize that being misunderstood is one of those common things that are virtually impossible to get rid of altogether. As long as we are a community, we will misunderstand each other. Nevertheless, it still puzzles us.
“People say they want to learn to express themselves more clearly so that they won't be misunderstood. When we are misunderstood, we think it is because we chose the wrong words. We didn't convey our ideas properly. Or we blame the other person. We expressed ourselves perfectly clearly, but they misinterpreted us. They got the wrong idea out of what we said,” Lambert explains on his website How Communication Works.
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But Lambert argues that it's not that simple. “It's not about putting our ideas into words and having other people decode our words and extract our ideas,” he writes. “It's about saying and doing things in the world so that other people, drawing on mutual knowledge about you, the context, language, and how the world works, can make accurate inferences about your beliefs, emotions, attitudes, plans, goals, and intentions.”
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According to him, when communication breaks down, it is a breakdown in this inferential problem-solving process, not a breakdown in encoding or decoding. “Avoiding misunderstanding means supporting this inferential process, or, when possible, minimizing the need for inference by being explicit,” he says.
So in order to avoid being misunderstood, Lambert’s advice is to ask yourself whether there is enough common ground to support accurate inference. “Accurate inference requires mutual knowledge, i.e., a set of facts that we share in common. We make assumptions about what other people know and what they know we know, and what they know we know they know, etc.”
What’s important to understand is that these assumptions are often wrong. “When the doctor tells the patient to put the patch on a different place every day, she assumes the patient knows to take yesterday's patch off. Dangerous assumption,” Lambert explained. To avoid misunderstanding, it’s always great to check your assumptions about mutual knowledge, and where it's lacking, do the work needed to fill in the gaps.
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Another tip from Lambert is to ask yourself if the person knows you well enough to realize when you're speaking literally or not. “Most of what we communicate, we communicate indirectly, by saying one thing and meaning much more,” he argues and adds that it’s efficient when people share enough knowledge and know each other well enough.
However, “When people do not know you well, they will be unsure when to take you literally and when to use inference to go beyond what you said to get at what you really meant. Avoid irony, sarcasm, and other forms of indirect, non-literal speech when speaking to people who may not know you well enough not to take you literally,” Lambert suggests.
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