What is a Misunderstanding?/Martin Rosenfeld, JD

Posted on December 12, 2014


I saw a comment in a mediation article that a misunderstanding is not someone’s fault. If not, what then is it? Perhaps a function of the mediator is to get the parties to see how mediation is meant precisely to deal with misunderstandings. Misunderstanding occurs when parties fail to communicate properly. A misunderstanding is more likely to occur when parties do not listen to each other. Mediation is helpful in getting parties to focus on the issues that they need to address. Clarification regarding opinions and feelings can come about in an atmosphere of cooperation and respect. When these conditions do not occur, misunderstanding is a likely result.

What therefore is misunderstanding? It is the inevitable result of parties who do not hear each other and do not respect one another. Is there a cure for misunderstanding? This is no guaranteed antidote to such behavior but mediation is the way to deal with such behaviors through its focus on Win-Win. Mediate don’t litigate.