I think all actions and words can be misunderstood on the part of the receiver.
David Marino

Thanks for your response. I have definitely been in situations that sound similar, where I asked or said something that felt like a quite innocent question to me, but which felt ignorant, hostile, or just kind of silly to the other person. It can be really off-putting, and, of course, it can occur in all sorts of conversations, not just conversations that cross racial or cultural lines.

I definitely prefer it when everybody involved in a conversation goes into it with an expectation of mutual good-will and a lot of patience with each other. Sometimes that happens, sometimes not.

I find that the more conversations I have, and the more I learn, the fewer missteps I make, and the more quickly I rebound from feeling rebuffed or misunderstood when I do inadvertently step on someone’s toes because I wasn’t aware of how much weight there might be behind my words.

When I do phrase something in a way that causes misunderstanding, I find that things go better for me if I just apologize, ask for clarification on what my mistake was, and then thank the person for their feedback and move on.

When I don’t react that way, but instead get really bent out of shape and try to explain at length why the other person shouldn’t have misunderstood me because my intentions were good, things don’t go as well for me. The more I mess up, the better I get at it and the more I learn that they best way for me to learn is to learn from my mistakes.

Thanks for the conversation and I hope you have a great day.

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