What is Said vs. What is Heard

People say what they say. said vs heard

We hear what we hear.

What is said and what is heard are usually two very different things.

Here’s how it might go: Jack is telling Jill what he wants for dinner.

Maybe Jack says, “Lasagna sounds good.”

Maybe Jill hears, ”Make me lasagna.”

Maybe Jack says, “Your lasagna was delicious last time you made it.”

Maybe Jill hears, “You never make lasagna anymore.”

Or Jill hears, “You’re a fantastic cook and I appreciate you.”

Or Jill hears, “I am the man and I expect you, the woman, to make my dinner.”

Jack says what occurs to him to say, determined by what is on his mind at the moment. What he says has nearly nothing to do with Jill.

Even when it is about Jill, it’s not really about Jill. Meaning, even when “Lasagna sounds good” is the manifestation of his thought, “I expect you to cook for me”, that isn’t about Jill. It’s about Jack.

Similarly, Jill hears what she hears based on what is on her mind when she hears it. She will hear the exact same statement said the exact same way from Jack in wildly different ways, based only on her current state of mind.

Jack hears his own thinking and Jill hears her own thinking.

And you know this already. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know about how two-way, human communication works. But there’s an excellent chance that you often forget. There’s an excellent chance that it really looks like you are hearing exactly what they are saying.

So I just wanted to remind you—you almost never are. What is said and what is heard are independent of each other.


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