When we communicate with someone there are two events that happen that can alter what the person hears who we are communicating with. We can diagram this as follows.

Intended Message

  1. We put message into words.
  2. Person who hears out message interprets it. 

  For example,  my wife is trying to lose weight but like many dieters she gains back what she loses.  I suggested to her that everytime she eats something she shouldn't she bike it off at the end of the day with an exercise bike that I bought her. The exercise bike has a calorie counter so I thought she could look up the calories of the food she shouldn't have eaten and exercise until the bike indicated she had burned it off.  The great thing about this method is it makes one less likely to eat something one shouldn't since one knows one will have to pay later, and if one does, one burns it off.  Well my wife went into Vesuvius mode.  She felt I was butting my nose in and should stay out of it and that I was being mean and controlling.  Time for the Interpretation Method.  I told my wife lets consider different interpretations of my behavior from worst to best.

  1. I'm mean and controlling which is why I want her to get on the bike.
  2. I want to help and I mean well even though I should stay out of it.
  3. I'm right it's a good idea and it will work.

   This way I showed my wife that she was choosing the worst possible interpretation and she started considering the more positive ones.

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