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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Sew many virgins of Miss Communication

Updated: May 15, 2023

Woman sitting at a computer holding her head in her hands frustrated by miscommunication

Let’s meet 10 of them: Starting with Miss Understanding, when what you said and what I thought you said are NOT the same. Much like the classic Abbott and Costello “Who’s on First” routine.

Or, Miss Perception, that pesky one that happens when a text or email message is not received in the way it was intended… you know what I mean?

Have you heard of Miss Conception? AKA “contagious falsehoods” because they are so common. Like “sugar causes hyperactivity.” Nope.

Miss Information shows up when you don’t make sure what you said (or wrote) is what you meant to say. Like the sign that reads, “Dog for Sale. Eats anything and is fond of children.”

Miss Information is the fault of the sender, but Miss Interpretation is largely the fault of the receiver and happens when someone doesn’t make sure they get enough information to understand the message. Like the time the young boy looked up from the form he was filling out and asked, “Dad, what is sex?” Twenty minutes later, his father asked “Son, do you have any more questions?” “Yeah, how am I supposed to fit all that in this little box?”

Miss Aligned is when we don’t speak the same language, even if it’s all English. Speaking “nutritionese” (nutrition jargon) can be at fault, or using colloquialisms, like “drive me up the wall” or “spill the beans,” or worst of all, poorly translated English for non-English speakers. This is a common outcome of using translation software without the expertise of a native speaker. For example, if you translate the English phrase “Out of sight, out of mind” into Russian and back again into English it becomes, “Invisible Idiot.”

Miss Spelled is otherwise known as the typo, as a cover-up for ignorance. Like the school sign advertising “Leteracy Night.” Or the one “Congradulating the spelling bee winners.” Irony at its best. At least they aren’t misspelled tattoos, those regerts are permanent.

Miss Taken is when the message is wrong, without the sender or receiver even realizing it. This sometimes happens when messages get passed from one source to another, like the childhood game of telephone.

Miss Pronounce is when someone really doesn’t know the word and makes it obvious to those who do. Like the speaker who showed she was not from Arizona by the way she pronounced “Tuck-son.” Children are so cute when they mispronounce words, like my youngest who pronounced ketchup, “kepesh” for years.

Miss Print, is AKA autocorrect, or using a word other than the one intended. Like in the title of this blog.

Allow me to close with a quote by Freeman Teague, Jr.: “Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood.”

This blog is based on a speech I just finished, to be given next week. Stay tuned for next week’s blog for a picture and a description of how it went.

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