Occasionally having a misunderstanding with your coworker can happen with only one of you realizing that something went wrong.  Our time is so demanding and we rush around having multiple things on our minds.

Something is said as one person passes by another, never intending for it to be taken seriously, but who knows where the other person was mentally at that moment in time and how they perceived the comment.  The words spoken could have rubbed them wrong way.

When situations like this are brought to our attention we need take action right away and not allow it to stick to the other person. If we do not clear the air quickly it could turn into a toxic situation.

What is the best way to “clear the air” when we feel we have been misunderstood or that possibly we have been the one to misunderstand something?

Go directly to that person as soon as you can and ask, “Did you understand what I meant when I said …….” Or “I am not sure if I understood what you said about…….”  Clear the air right away or the situation could get out of hand?

If you do not clear up the misunderstanding, you may form opinions about the person that are based on untruths, and it can have an influence on your work. Our thoughts can be consumed about what we think happened that was upsetting.

I always appreciate when someone comes to me to clear the air about something I said or did as it gives me the opportunity to explain what I really meant or apologize for something I may have said that came out wrong.

Once the air has been cleared we both can feel better because the situation has been handled. The misunderstanding was acknowledged and we can focus on moving forward.

When simple misunderstandings happen people allow them to brew for too long and this is when the air becomes polluted.  The more time that passes the less clear the situation can be remembered, especially if one party does not even know what happened.

It’s time to think ecologically about miscommunication that happens at work and clear the air quickly so everyone can breathe better.  Misunderstandings are going to happen and when you address them it is like a breath of fresh air for everyone involved.