This weekend, through some lucky circumstances (my daughter being a rockstar despite one half of her parents being a complete bittertastrophe), I got the chance to attend a Seattle Seahawks pre-season game, much to the chagrin of many people around me who are actual Seahawks fans. They are the most popular ticket around town (even pre-season snoozefests sell out) because of reasons. The capacity of the stadium is 67,000 people, meaning that I had to deal with 66,999 strange weirdo’s(my daughter being the only one that wasn’t) around me making noise, eating gross food, and spilling stuff on me while I was trying to watch a game that I was only mildly interested in watching (reason being: I wanted my acquaintances to be bitter with jealous rage). I know for a fact that I am not going to ever talk to any of those people again and I’m glad. Of course, I don’t talk to a majority of the 7 billion people on this planet, so that shouldn’t surprise you. You know what else shouldn’t surprise you? That I have the keys to bitter miscommunication.
As an expert of miscommunication and bitterness, I shall tell you the keys, but only if you promise to use at least all of these with your next human encounter.
In face to face contact, when speaking to someone, whether in a one to one, small group, or large group setting, always make sure to not make eye contact. This may be a big step for you extroverts out there that have a compulsion to look people directly in the eye in order to let them know you care, but resist it. Like you would resist looking at the sun. If even imagining someone as the bright thing in the sky which the earth and the rest of the universe revolve around, try wearing a pair of prescription sunglasses (not your own prescription). You won’t be able to see or focus and that will give you enough practice to eventually do without. Plus, they give the other people you are talking to the impression that you aren’t looking at them.
This tip works in almost any kind of communication, whether it is talking, signing, non-verbal or even texting. Make messages vague and unclear. The goal here is to eventually cause the bitter, confused look. Some people confuse easily and give up early. Others it might take some time with. With hard to confuse people mix things up. Blend in emoji’s that don’t quite make sense or use a word or two from an obscure language that almost no one has ever heard of. When someone asks a question, answer with a simple, “Mmhmm.” Misdirect as soon as someone thinks you are bluffing. If needed, walk away while shaking your fists in the air or shaking your head furiously like they are the ones that are being vague and unclear.
Assume. Assume. Assume. Always make wild assumptions about any little word, head bob, eye wink, email, text or Facebook friend request. For instance, if someone nods their head at you in the hallway at work, speak immediately to your HR department about harassment. If someone gets something in their eye and is furiously blinking, be like, “I’m married. And honestly, you’re not my type. And also you have bad hair.” If someone sends you a Facebook request, respond immediately and be like, “I always knew you had a crush on me. So chappel wedding next week then?”
Mumble. All the time. The best way to get people angry at you is to have a bad voice. This method works especially well on a phone (cell phone with bad reception even more). The person on the other end would rather run a 5K in bare feet over burning Lego’s than listen to a 5 minute conversation on a cell phone with a mumbler. People will say, “What?” or “What was that?” two times, but after a third they will either pretend to hang up the phone, or pretend that they heard what you just said and try to move on the conversation to something that isn’t what you were just trying to say. Then with indignation, you say, “Did you even hear a word I was just saying?” and they are forced to admit that they didn’t hear you, or lie and hope that whatever they think you said was somewhere near what you were saying. Let’s just say that either conversation leads to a whole lotta awkward.
Delay tactics. Nothing is more annoying than having to wait for an answer. While people are used to having to wait for text messages and emails, or answers to comments on blogs, this method isn’t quite as effective. But when it comes to talking either on the phone or face to face, this method can drive people crazy. Don’t believe me? Try having a conversation with someone overseas where there is a 5 second delay. It’s only 5 seconds, but that delay can drive a person as mad as a woodpecker without a beak. And it is priceless when it is face to face. Just slow your conversational pace to a 3 second delay and you will get some looks of confusion that haven’t been seen on this planet before.
In written communicashions, misspell wurds, put too many or two few punctuation marxs, ! use emojjji’s incorrectly (:)}+= etc, do whatever you have to do to make someone just not want wirite back 2 u. In extreme cases, reference Kardashian, Beiber, or Cyrus.
Whenever possible, use passive aggressiveness. It drives aggressives crazy and makes them want to confront you all the time. Whenever they confront you, tell them that you need to go the bathroom and then see if you can schedule an appointment for next week. This will allow them to react emotionally for the rest of the week and then forget all the rational thoughts they had. As soon as they forget what they were mad at, continue this passive aggressive cycle.
Use all your non-verbal cues aggressively. Roll eyes, use words like pshssh, and shake head furiously whenever someone is making sense. Sigh loudly, walk by clomping your shoes as aggressively as you can, fold your arms tightly and maintain a good distance when talking to someone who likes to talk closer, and stand just slightly closer to someone that likes their space (FYI, this would drive me bitterly crazy if you were to do to me.) Also, make sure to interupt people as often as possible, especially if you notice that it throws them off.
Miscommunicating to 66,999 people is hard thing that very few people can do, that aren’t me. But I hope that with some of these simple tips you can at least alienate your small office, your family or your friends. The least you can do is start by completely misreading one of your bosses emails this morning. Then, you might have to courage to miscommunicate with others. Bitter Luck!
Bitter Miscommincatur Ben