It was unfortunate because it ended up creating a divide between us that seems to remain to this day. Here is the situation. My friend asked me if I could work for him next Saturday. As I was multitasking…
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You see, he was actually asking me to work in two days, which in his mind was next Saturday. For me, that would have been this Saturday. For whatever reason, neither of us communicated exactly what we thought. In retrospect, I should have practiced my informational listening skills a bit more and asked for clarification. What I was hearing, and what he was saying, were apparently two different things.
Because I had agreed to take his shift, he put it out of his mind and went on with his weekend. The ironic thing is, so did I. Now, I was fully planning on working the following Saturday and I already had that in the back of my mind. Well, my friend called me later that evening obviously upset. He wanted to know why I lied to him. Since I did not believe I had lied to him, I became a bit upset myself. He then proceeded to question why I told him that I would work for him today, but then I did not show up. He was implying that my verbal message to him on Thursday was contradicting my actions today. I went on to tell him that he told me I was supposed to work next Saturday, not today. Of course, he said that since he spoke to me on Thursday, that this was, in fact, next Saturday. Needless to say, I became confused even more than I was when he called me a liar.
In the end, he got in a lot of trouble for failing to adequately cover his shift. I did not get in trouble, but I still feel terrible about the situation. My friend probably thinks that I was practicing deception with him by trying to justify my actions with a misunderstanding between the words ‘next’ and ‘this’. In reality, it was truly a mistake made by two adults. He feels that he communicated properly, while I feel like he did not. In the end, he suffered with the boss, and I continue to suffer because I unknowingly let a friend down.
It appears that the root of our misunderstanding resulted from a lack difference in chronemics. Both of had
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