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Foot In Mouth Disease... Thursday July 3, 2014

What a bizarre English idiom: to put your foot in your mouth. Aside from this being physically impossible for me since the age of 6 months (I'm just not that flexible), it really is a strange phrase, isn't it? That's beside the point. The point is, I am a Master at the art. It means to say something offensive or embarrassing... and I'm a natural at that! No effort required!

In the UK Market, Nestlé have broadened their range of KitKat chocolate bars. I'm sure it's the same the World over. One of the new ones is a 'KitKat Chunky'. Great, delicious chunks of chocolate. Want some?

I bought some. Knowing how much my friend loves chocolate, I said to her, "Would you like a KitKat Chunky?"

Her response was, "Would you like a slap?"

There was a pause.

On reflection, I realised she thought I was calling her "Chunky"!

Fortunately, we both laughed and saw the funny side of me putting my foot in my mouth. It did, however, remind me of a great principle: "The meaning of your communication is the response you get." This saying from Linguistics suggests that your intention really doesn't count for much in the game we call 'communication'. If someone misreads what you mean (and who hasn't been misunderstood?), then it's up to you to change your communication...

...until you get the response you want or intend.

This simple principle has saved me all manner of anxiety and effort over trying to justify what I intended to mean. When the communication doesn't 'work' – I simply look for another way to make my point and let go of the guilt. This can be easily softened by, "I didn't put that very well; what I meant to say was..."

A Moodscope member.

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win4timezdo Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 7:09am

Great reminder, Lex. Thank you.

jules Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 7:20am

cute blog Lex :)

DawnC.Ritchie Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 7:32am

Thanks for sharing Lex.
Yes, there's sooooo much hurt goes on by mis communication.
My marriage ended partly because of it and it's not only verbal communication that's responsible. He used to laugh and I thought he was laughing 'at' me. It was about 13 years afterwards that I realised he was enjoying me all the while.!
It doesn't have to be all the fault of the doer or the receiver but lack of communication in general.
I wish they'd have taught us all this in school.
Warmest wishes to everyone.

Mary Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 8:11am

Oh Lex, I knew this was you from the first line! It won't surprise you in the least to find that I too suffer from this disease! Lovely post.

Julia Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 8:42am

I think one can so easily get put off by the responses, including body language of other people. We try so hard to feel connected when we're feeling down, that we, by that I mean "I" talk too much or am too complimentary or try to be funny and am not. The response is usually justified even if it makes me feel terrible (It's never harsh or rude but not engaging is the best way to describe the responses). If I was feeling great, I could brush it off and make a joke of it all. I don't try so hard these days but have to communicate a little in order not to attract too much attention to myself in company. Oh dear, it's so so hard to know the best way to behave!But ..funny about the KitKat..Chunky

valerie Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 9:00am

Priceless! You should meet my other half-you would make a great double act.Just one of sooo many examples that have fallen from his lips.Ordering meal in uber cool café bar.Young woman,serving beind the bar,wearing lovely very intricate obviously expensive choker necklace.He stares,leans closer,then big bellow of laughter "Oh-it's a necklace! It looks just like you've had a really weird tattoo done of your neck-HAHAHA!"
She looks at him with pure hatred in her eyes,I do much the same.I go back later to apologise,blushing and grovelling.

I go too far the other way,over- analysing everyday conversations,did I say the right thing,were they offended or shocked by me.
Overall,I much prefer the sort of person who cheerfully opens their big gob and puts their foot in it than the silent,inscrutable ones-bit creepy?


Anonymous Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 9:11am

How lovely! I am noted (in several languages) for forgetting full stops and commas in speech - blank looks, more when I forget the noun. Now, it's serious. My husband has Alzheimers - everything I say is not heard, not understood, forgotten or done wrong. Stress levels are rising - I've tried all means of written communication sans success! Yours frustrated

Anonymous Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 9:19am

Dear Lex, thank you for this! I hope you are well? (I hope I did not put my foot in it...)

Lex McKee Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 10:36am

Oh Valerie, I'm laughing truly out loud... I love your other half already!

Lex McKee Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 10:48am

This is serious. And I'm no expert. But I remember Albert Mehrabian's fascinating discoveries on communication between people who like or love one another: only 7% was the words, 38% the way they said things, and 55% the body language. (This often misquoted set of percentages is only true for communication between people who want to get on with one another)..
With the good history between you both, perhaps body language will be the most powerful medium of communication? I know that I love another quote, "what you are shouts so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying." Love is heard above the words. I also wonder if the whole body language aspect can apply with the other famous cliche: "actions speak louder than words"? Hope this helps.

Lex McKee Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 10:51am

This is rather exciting, Dawn. If I'm hearing you correctly, you're saying that you are getting 'healing' revelation through reflection. That's when the hidden powers of introversion really become valuable.
What I wanted to get across today is: let go of the guilt and have another go - if the communication doesn't flow the first time. No fault. No guilt. No blame. Just the "Communication Game."

Anonymous Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 10:52am

true dat

Lex McKee Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 10:53am

Seems like I'm developing a "Signature Style" then Mary! I think I like that! If the recovery strategy is good, it's not a bad disease to have!!! It's given me (and others at my expense) a few giggles over the years!

Lex McKee Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 10:54am


Lex McKee Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 10:55am

Thanks Jules... 'cute' - a favourite word!

Lex McKee Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 11:03am

Hi Julia... perhaps there is encouragement to be had from engaging in the idea of having an intended response. If you don't get this intended response, you can, at least focus on the outcome you desire rather than the initially unsuccessful process. Having a solutions-focus can really help when emotions are raw or bruised. One of the Universe's great kindnesses is the phenomenon of really only being able to focus on one thing at a time. You can choose to focus on the discomfort or you can refocus on what you'd prefer. This gets your mind on being resourceful and creative rather than relfecting adversely on how something has been misunderstood.

If in doubt, carry a 'KitKat Chunky' around with you everywhere you go, and in a moment of distress, whip it out and wave it wildly in the air, shouting whatever seems most inapproriate! It won't work but it'll pass the time!!!

Julia Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 12:13pm

I am now focussing on your comment which you removed! Ha! What you removed must have been a negative response to my comment. Only joking!! (Thx for your second helpful reply)

Anonymous Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 1:59pm

gosh this is so apt for me at the moment. i said something to someone yesterday which caused great offense & it was a bad kind of joke on my part...taken totally the wrong way. I am filled with shame but it was quite a lesson for me. Sometimes its better to just stay silent (even if you feel awkward ... it is normally when I feel awkward I make these bad "jokes"). I feel like my foot is permanently in my mouth!

heather Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 3:38pm

Dear Lex, for my part I am just so happy to see your friendly face again.
Love Heather x

Mary Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 4:27pm

Oh, Excellent, Valerie. I too am giggling away! (I sop sympathise with the lady behind the bar and with you!) Yes, like you, I prefer people who just say what there is to say and don't pretend. Occasionally one might be a little "squashed" but they usually mean it well. It's the people who are nice to your face and then nasty behind your back that grieve me.

Lex McKee Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 4:47pm

Thank you Heather! Great to engage again!

Lex McKee Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 4:48pm

Well thanks! And I forgive people who put their foot in things!

Lex McKee Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 4:48pm

It was just bad grammar Julia!!!

Julia Thu, Jul 3rd 2014 @ 8:03pm

Mmmm not so sure about that!!

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