Did they mean what you thought you heard?

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 PA License - AB067198

I have been reading a book by Celeste Headlee, We need to talk. Something I read in there, and I will paraphrase: Do not presume that because you are both speaking English you mean the same things with the words you choose and speak.

My wife is from the Netherlands, so automatically I know she is smarter than me because she speaks English very well, plus German, and some French, and of course Dutch. Unfortunately, many English speakers speak well, English and that is it, oh yes, LOUDER ENGLISH as well, because that will help them to be understood. My mother came from this school, and thought by also speaking more slowly it would help as well, as long as it was louder too.

Anyway, what Trudy and I have found is that we don't always understand what the other person is saying. We need to clarify what the other speaker means by what they say. Something we find very useful to do with clients. And emotions can also make it hard to understand each other, and we all know buying a home is emotional at the best of times.

An example, we were recently discussing rejection. Any born English speaker seems to automatically understand the angst that word carries with it. For Trudy, it simply means a No! Pure and simple, no angst, no bad feelings. Move on.

Young couple at tableWell, I started to realize this applied to other words as well and hence the ability to mis-communicate with each other very easily.

Many of us deal with clients from different states who are moving around America for jobs, but we also get clients from other countries as well. They may not always mean what they say. So, we try very hard to make sure we understand their point of view.

Communication is important, and conversation is a dying art, with people's attention spans dropping. Texting also does not allow any inflection and can easily be misconstrued.

This video from Comedy Central Key and Peele is totally uncensored, so watch with care, but it makes a great point how people can read totally different things into a text and a simple message.

As time passes and as people sound the alarm about technology stealing away not just the art of conversation but people's attention, we may very well see people taking time to lay aside technology, to enjoy each other and to understand each other better.

Have you ever been misunderstood and not known why?

As Tredyffrin Easttown and Main Line Realtors we understand the value of understanding our clients and being available for conversation and to answer questions they may have about the process or the transaction of selling or buying a Tredyffrin Easttown or Main Line home. If you value communication call Nick Vandekar, Selling the Main Line with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., office 610-225-7400, cell or text 610-203-4543, email Nick@VandekarTeam.com, website www.SellingTheMainLine.com. I give you the confidence to make the right decision.

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Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I have often said that someone who learned English, can write and speak it well, will not necessarily understand someone else.  For instance we have many idiomatic expressions that when translated make no sense whatsoever.  The same goes for all languages.  Idioms and colloquialism emerge from lifestyle and perspectives.  For instance in Russian when you talk about a tiny amount usually of a greed person, the expression the amount is equal to the tears the cat shed...My father-in-law used to say of something useless as socks on a rooster!  He learned that during his childhood in Cleveland...

Before, we go to France, I arm myself with a few Paris-Match and read to understand what idioms I need to learn...LOL A

Feb 26, 2019 01:17 PM #3
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 - What a great and interesting post! Also, you're a lucky man to have the best of many worlds and Trudy is a wonderful better half. I bet you compliment each other in many great and positive ways. 

Something that always intrigued me is body language. It speaks VOLUMES that often the communicator doesn't even seem to know. Yet others see it and feel it too!

Feb 26, 2019 07:33 PM #4
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I sometimes stumble with our language and the with it.


Just do not follow it well

Feb 26, 2019 08:02 PM #5
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Nick,having been born in Hungary, lived in Austria, then Connecticut, from there to New York, then to Georgia.... anyway the list goes on and on I have learned that English is not one language just as German is not one language.... they consist of Regional differences and add to that country differences.... as far as I am concerned not only do  I speak  three languages but  but out of the three two of them I understand at least 20 different variations of it:))Endre

p.s.: can't speak it but understand most of it:))

Feb 26, 2019 11:01 PM #6
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

We deal with lots of people from varying cultures which makes communication a bit more challenging.

Feb 27, 2019 03:19 AM #7
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

That video certainly demonstrates how two people can totally interpret something differently! We do have to remember that other people might know different languages, or have different experiences, that could lead to misunderstandings. We need to remember that our understanding might not be the only one.

Feb 27, 2019 04:37 AM #8
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

I can totally relate, Nick, on a personal level. My husband, also is Dutch and he perfected his English in British colonies in Africa back in the 1950's. He uses expressions that leave me gob-smacked (as the Brits would say). Sometimes I ask him if we are speaking the same language!

Feb 27, 2019 04:42 AM #9
Amanda S. Davidson
Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group Brokered By eXp Realty - Ashburn, VA
Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale

Nick, communication is so important in all facets of life and you're right. Just because we're speaking the same language doesn't mean we understand each other. It can be even harder on email and often times I'll pick up the phone to talk to a client because I want to make sure I understand what they're asking or expressing. 

Feb 27, 2019 05:33 AM #10
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Nick. This is so true and so insightful. We don't all listen and even when we really do we bring our experiences with us.

Feb 27, 2019 07:02 AM #11
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Nick, this should have been *featured*. So many great points that it would bring up lots of conversations with each one made! It would make for a good seminar. Or group talk, or therapy!

I've seen conversations misconstrued so often. It can be related to any number of things. I learned in my continuing study of human behavior that along with all of the other signals of how people perceive, we can add those who are more audial in their way of listening, and then there are those who are more visual. You can tell sometimes by the words they use. "I hear what you're saying". (An audial learner). "I see your point". (A visual learner). My husband can remember whole lines from watching movies. I am a visual. If I see someone's name, say on a name tag or I write it down, it's committed to memory much more easily.


Feb 27, 2019 07:56 AM #12
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Ron and Alexandra Seigel when I was growing up I went to stay with friends down on the West Country in Dorset. The father said to jme as we walked out of a room "Douse the glim, boy" for turn out the light. First time I ever heard it, but it has always stayed with me.

If we all read body languauge we may avoid many of the misunderstandings that arise Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP 

William Feela I think we all have problems, we often just don't admit it.

Endre Barath, Jr. you are a very clever man to understand so many languages

Sally K. & David L. Hanson but that is part of the fun as well.

Feb 27, 2019 11:29 AM #13
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Kat Palmiotti you summed it up beautifully, We need to remember that our understanding might not be the only one.

Nina Hollander when you also bring in cultural differences as well it gets really complicated.

We should have listening classes in school Sheila Anderson 

Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate good points and I have been lucky recently with featured posts, but hopefully this might make it too. Yes, how peoplelisten is important and whether they are audiophiles or visual people is important. As agents we need to listen for that and adapt our conversation accordingly.

Feb 27, 2019 11:33 AM #14
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Nick - a very interesting post.  The differences in communication/ understanding goes beyond language as you note. Now off to see the video.

Feb 28, 2019 08:44 AM #15
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Expect this post will sport a star soon, Nick. What we have here is a failure to communicate is more than a recognizable line from a move, it's a problem. It happens for many reasons, a failure to listen well, cultural and geographic differences, and just different styles of communication. Careful listening and observing reactions can sure help avoid misunderstandings - hence to the need to see one another in person, and not via a device. :) 

Mar 01, 2019 07:19 AM #16
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543  We need to be sure people understand us. I deal with people all the time and try to talk slow and watch their hand gestures. The most important thing is to listen to them. Very interesting post 

Mar 03, 2019 02:17 PM #17
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Michael Jacobs hope you enjoyed the video, a little different, but it makes the point.

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD careful listening has almost disappeared, so many are only waiting to jump in with their thoughts and are not listening to what the other person is saying.

Hannah Williams listening and making sure you heard what you think you heard is important. Asking people is this what you meant not only helps you ,make sure you got it right, but they appreciate you taking the time to verify or allow them to correct you.

Mar 05, 2019 07:10 AM #18
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Nick,  Learn more about you and Trudy from you blog.  With me being Pennsylvania Dutch and my wife being from Denver, she fines some of my saying funny.


Mar 05, 2019 09:16 AM #19
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Nick - this is such a great post and should be featured.  Mis communication is the number one problem in all business situations.  We need to check for feedback on what we say and verify that we that we have the same understanding about what the other person meant.

Mar 06, 2019 05:34 AM #20
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I always like to take a sec to process what I hear with all my interactions. A great post!

Mar 08, 2019 10:03 PM #21
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Will Hamm I think we all find funny sayings in our partners when they come from somewhere different to us.

Grant Schneider something I am coming to understand more and more.

Laura Cerrano that is a good idea, not to react, but to process and then respond.

Mar 12, 2019 09:07 AM #22
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Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line
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