Have you ever tried to convey an earnest emotion to someone, only to have them understand you to be saying the exact opposite of what you mean?
I have. It sucks.
Communication is funny thing. Context matters. Timing matters. Framing matters. Miss or miscalculate any of these things and the communication gets lost in its entirety. The focus shifts from what you are actually trying to communicate to the missing parts of the equation.
The curious thing about this, is that in the process of the miscommunication you can actually change the future in immutable ways. You foment feelings of mistrust, anger, hurt despite your best intentions. That damages friendships and leaves people feeling like you’re a moron (which arguably you are). There is no undoing this hurt, pain, mistrust — you’re stuck with it. The words can’t be recalled. The future has changed and now you have to live with it.
I did this tonight.
I opened my mouth and clumsily tried to put into words some things that have been weighing on my heart for a while. In the process, I shattered a friendship, one that has come to mean the world to me. I hurt this person so badly, despite my desire to share something meaningful. I screwed up the timing, I didn’t consider the framing. Pretty much every part of communication that is out there, I hosed it up.
I’m sorry I hurt you.
I don’t expect things to ever go back to how they were. I know I’ve created a fork of the future with my clumsiness and I can’t even describe the amount of pain I feel having done this. This future is lonely and feels damn bleak.