Have you ever left a conversation feeling like the person you're chatting with is living on another planet? This video from TED-Ed explains what the heck is going on when two people walk away with completely different interpretations of what happened (and if you fast-forward to the three-minute mark, you'll get some tips on how to avoid this mess).

Think of conversations like playing catch, except you've got a lump of clay, not a ball. Each time you say something— or toss the clay— the other person catches it and molds it based upon their own experiences and way of seeing the world.

Luckily, the video outlines a few easy steps you can take to avoid miscommunication:

  1. Be an active listener: It sounds silly, but really pay attention so you can get a good read of what's going on.
  2. Listen with your eyes, not just your ears: Pay attention to gestures, facial expressions, and emotions.
  3. Try to understand: Put yourself in the other person's shoes, and take some time to really think about what they say before jumping to any conclusions.
  4. Be aware of your own filters: Your background affects how you see the world. Don't assume that your beliefs are the only way to think.
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