April Jeppson: Don’t lose friends over a game of telephone

Published 8:45 pm Friday, August 20, 2021

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

I had a friend approach me the other day. She said someone told her that I said XYZ. She explained how that didn’t sound like something I’d say, so she wanted to double check with me. I was a tad annoyed that people feel the need to talk about stuff they know nothing about, but I was glad that my friend reached out to me. After a few minutes of telling her what actually happened, the perceived problem no longer existed and we carried on with the rest of our conversation.

April Jeppson

This got me thinking. How many friendships have been broken or feelings hurt because of miscommunication? The short conversation that I had with a person two months ago somehow got twisted in a real life game of telephone until what my friend heard was barely recognizable as what I had originally said.

If you look at marriages and conversations between husbands and wives, this stuff happens often. When the wife asks the husband what he wants to do tonight and he replies nothing, both parties interpret that differently. He means that he’s tired and simply wants to snuggle on the couch with his wife. She hears that he doesn’t want to take her out and therefore it must be because she’s gained a few pounds and he’s embarrassed to be around her. So time passes and she tells her friends that her husband is falling out of love with her, and he tells his friends that she’s been acting distant with him and he doesn’t know why. If they don’t start actually communicating with each other, then larger problems are bound to arise.

Have you ever heard something about someone and believed it? Why yes, we all have. What about if that information is less than pleasant. I’ve had friends “warn” me about people. Telling me all sorts of random things from someone’s past. Things that frankly I don’t care about. I shut down these conversations quickly because I wouldn’t want to be talked about in that matter.

Then there are times when I hear something about someone and it sticks with me. It leaves an impression that I just can’t shake. About a year ago I was told a story about someone who I barely knew. I basically ignored it, but in the back of my mind the story lingered. As the months went by, I started to get to know this person better. At some point it occurred to me that the information I was previously told wasn’t aligning with the person that I now knew. After a few more months of friendship and a few honest conversations later, we soon discovered that we both were given faulty information about each other. We laughed and agreed that we were happy that neither one of us believed those “warning” stories.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. If you ever hear anything about me that sounds less than awesome, it might be true. It might also be false. I’m a human and I make my share of daily mistakes that I try really hard to learn from. However, please don’t write me off, or anyone else for that matter. Go to the source and have a real conversation. Get the truth. Don’t lose precious friendships or cry needless tears over something you heard through a game of telephone.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.