Intent vs. Impact

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For anyone who watched the Lions/49ers game last Sunday afternoon, it is clear to see that one's initial intention can be taken the wrong way. Last week, after the 49ers upset the Lions with a victory, the head coach took the walk across the field to do the traditional post game handshake. In all of excitement, the 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh shook Lions' head coach, Jim Schwartz's hand "too hard." Following the game, Harbaugh admits "Personally I can get better at the post game handshake" (NFL.com). Following the handshake, the two head coaches were involved in an altercation that overshadowed the actual game.

The dispute that took place over the handshake is an example of how one's intent can be interpreted differently depending on the situation. After reading chapter 8, we have all learned how complex language is and how there are many different ways to interpret others' words and actions. Interpretation is made even more unclear with the amount of technology surrounding us. Facebook, texting, emailing, etc. present even more difficulties in realizing one's intention because we do not hear the person's tone. For example, one could wrongly interpret a friend's text if that text has only periods, or a brief answer. The person receiving the text may believe that their friend is mad without knowing why, which could lead to hurt feelings.

So the next time someone steps on your toe, spills your drink, or in the case of Jim Schwartz, shakes your hand too hard, don't fret about it. Although the impact may come off as intentional, you don't actually know the thinking behind that person.

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Very nice post. The video was taken down though... :(

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This page contains a single entry by sevol005 published on October 23, 2011 1:05 PM.

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