You’re responsible for my failure to understand you

And I’m responsible for understanding your interpretation of what I’m saying to you. Even if we don’t agree.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to interact with my friend’s husband. At first I was skeptical because I have a piss-poor attitude about the men that I’ve meet through my wife’s entourage. Few of them are impressive.

It’s also been explained to me; that Germans tend to have their guards when meeting someone new. I believe this is an issue on their part, because I do consider myself a good conversationalist.

His first comment failed to make an impression and said it was meant to be a joke which I misunderstood, “Oh, you just don’t get my kind of humor”. That comment revealed that he’s not taking ownership of his words.

Unfamiliar to him, I had once produced a 5 episode mini web series, which was by its intentions “Cringe Comedy”. When the creator of the show and I debuted the series, we didn’t make a great impact. Less of a handful of people laughed at the jokes and the audience was a mix of people, some of whom, we knew were just not going to be into it.

Photo Credit: Ethan Benjamin | Husband & Wife BTS

But what I’m trying to explain has more to do with the mannerism of German culture that I’ve experienced and not individual aesthetics. While Germans are very mindful of what they say and do, they are also very calculated in the risk they take. This is in polar opposite of where I stand, which is “Fail Harder, Fail Faster”.

So I often encounter language like my friend’s Husband, who sees himself as being noncommittal to the interpretations of others. Germans want to be safe and they don’t want to be the cause of the problem, they rather point the finger and exempt themselves of any responsibility.

While all of this could be compartmentalized to German culture, it’s actually all around the world. The reason why I’m experiencing it more now, is because I’m away from individuals who share my point-of-view. Here in Germany I’m the crazy one who doesn’t want to accept the sugar candy that every store offer to kids. But in other places where I’ve lived, sugar is considered dangerous substance.

No matter where you are at, people need to take more ownership of their lives, including what they say. If I can tell that you didn’t understand me, I have to change my approach. I can’t give it a single try and then place the blame on you for not understanding. This all just makes for a very slow and unproductive meeting ritual that I have to go through.

But we right determination and action, we can foster relationships with individuals who have a completely different point-of-view, and hopefully find the right tribe to be long. If you don’t find it, then create it.

Good luck and keep socialising.