The Art of Misconceptions

Life is all about misconceptions, whether we're labelled incorrectly or a conversation is taken out of context.

Misconception (Illusion?) About Hands

This article was written as part of Peeve Week 2: Misconceptions.

A misconception is (as according to Dictionary.com) a mistaken thought, idea, or notion; a misunderstanding.

Misconceptions can happen anywhere, in any situation: not understanding a topic; not knowing the full story; hearing the wrong story… there’s a myriad number of reasons how one can misunderstand something. There are some common misconceptions about people, personalities and situations that happen over and over again. To be honest, one would think they would learn from past experience. These are some frustrating situations I’ve experienced time and time again (I apologize that they are high-school-based, as I’m still just a teen).

1. Labelling

The act of labelling itself is not a misconception, but the ideas about a person are. It’s quite similar to stereotyping, but sometimes is more personal. This happens so often in schools — and even in the community — that it’s not even funny. Labelling can happen in several ways. One is in the same sense as stereotyping, when one person is labelled as something simply for their appearance or behaviour, without truly getting to know them. How often have you heard someone call someone punk or emo, for they wear black clothes and have coloured hair? Or does the image of an Asian kid with glasses come to mind when you hear the word ‘nerd’? I’m sure everyone has heard these labelled names and stereotypes before.

The second form of labelling is more personal. This happens when you actually do know someone, perhaps very well. They could be your very best friend. Because of something that happens, for example, s/he does not take a particular situation well. Words such as “drama queen” are then thrown around. Even as a joke, these words can hurt and can stick.

2. Understanding Reason Behind Others’ Behavior

It’s easy to make a misconception of one’s personality when you don’t hear both sides of the story. Say someone says something mean about a friend of yours… the usual reaction is to stick up for your friend, while developing negative thoughts on the opposition. This is the easiest way to make your way to Lonely-ville, especially if you cannot keep your mind open about a person’s personality until you have met that person for yourself. It could also be someone assuming something about you, simply for something you may or may not have done. You could simply be sitting back, watching how people interact and viewing. On the other hand, one may assume that you are being sullen and depressed by not being actively involved.

3. Misunderstandings During Arguments

This is simply when people argue, and their ideas come across, or are interpreted the wrong way. I’m sure this requires no explanation. It is simply frustrating when people cannot sit and speak civilly, even after the argument to resolve things. Some people are incredibly stubborn, hold grudges, and do things to harm the other person’s reputation and name.

These three forms of misconception only briefly scratch the surface. Misunderstandings happen every moment, everywhere. These are just three particular peeves of mine in regards to misconceptions, and perhaps more to it, the way people treat each other resulting from misconceptions.

Jess is a 16 year old down to earth, deep-thinking teen. She loves to talk about all the real life issues, and get actively involved within the community. She writes to us from Australia.

2 thoughts on “The Art of Misconceptions”

  1. Excellent; this can be a defining article for many. You are a teen, but you're smarter than most people online, and I could point them out to you also. :p

    1 : Labeling : Good points, heh. It's funny how such things are so common in our society, yet most people simply keep acting as if they are opposed to stereotypes. Ethnicities, sexual preference, culture, religion, political views, gender, sex, goals in life, profession, philosophy of life and many other things are stereotypes every single second and people don't realize it.

    For example, I know several people who do not talk to gay or bisexual people online on purpose, whereas they'll talk to non-gay and non-bisexual people constantly. The funny thing is, these people will talk to the gay or bisexual people nicely whenever they need something. They love to label, but labeling goes away in their hearts while they need something.

    2 : 99% people do not do this. They say they do, but I can say a lot of things without actually doing anything, specially online. People love defending themselves, and denying the fact that one doesn't focus on reasons is such a common practice, people are skilled at it.

    Most people that tell me a story expect me to side with them. I rarely hear other side of the story in many situations, and all one does is rely on the story teller who may be manipulating the story in some manner. Again, people just deny and act as if they have a theory or a philosophy. Also, many people will use an irrelevant reason to justify hatred, discrimination or racism, which is retarded in my view.

    Take a girl as an example. She will like a guy and then tell that guy something like "I hope you don't like me because I want us to remain friends", because she wants to speed the rejection process. The guy would be like "Are you kidding me? I have NO interest in you other than friendship." Now that girl will start hating the guy and finding random excuses to talk to him more, appearing stupid herself while hiding behind taunts and insults. It's just immaturity and bad parenthood most of the time.

    3 : Ooooh, the essence of many friendship-breakups. Many people simply do not back off easily.

    One of the reasons people misunderstand during arguments is their own pride or guilt. Many people will feel guilty about something or know they did something wrong, and they consciously or unconsciously will start taking everything out of context, wanting to break ties because they do not want to realize what harm they have caused.

    Awesome article! I should give it to people who label, do not think rationally and misunderstand on purpose. 🙂 You should do a series on this. 😉

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