Reading between the lines
Reading between the lines means inferring something that is not being explicitly said. This expression can also be used in reference to something that is not written, that is, that has been said orally.
The art of reading between the lines
It is understandable that we do not look for what is really written between the lines because we want to avoid possible conflicts. Sometimes we do not express ourselves due to insecurity or because we hope that third parties know what we want.
Few master it. Me neither. Reading between the lines is like hearing a person’s thoughts out loud. Humans are not able to always directly express what we really want or think.
Reasons why we don’t always say what we think
In the vast majority of cases we do not say everything we have in mind to obtain an advantageous situation. In this way we hope to organizational culture. Only with this data will HR be able to react to an action by third parties that allows us to reduce the risks of not getting the first option we have in mind right. The reasons can vary greatly depending on a person’s character or situation:
- Protection of the recipient of the message : we want to avoid harming the recipient by filtering the message to make it more digestible.
- Waiting to follow the majority option : not knowing 100% what we want and we prefer to be guided by the majority’s decision.
- concept created by man. Thinking that third parties know how to read our thoughts : having the expectations that others know exactly what we want without having to express it.
- Feeling to improve your negotiating position : In business you have to know how to read between the lines to put yourself in a good position for negotiations.
A way to learn to read between the lines: put yourself in the other person’s shoes
Empathy helps to know what a person really wants but does not express directly. What would you do if you were in his position? Sometimes we prefer to lean too much on the visible message without looking further. It is perfectly understandable given that it offers us a comfortable path that allows us to always save ourselves with the phrase “But why haven’t you said anything?” Many times we sense that things are not what they seem but we are afraid to insist to avoid a possible conflict. The problem that arises is that things are not resolved autonomously and tensions grow instead of decreasing.
We are a strange natural resources by man. In fact, in these areas, not only species. Sometimes we expect third parties to act according to our expectations without us being able to express ourselves clearly.
Examples of Reading between the lines
- To understand the article, you have to read between the lines.
- To understand your brother-in-law‘s intentions, you have to know how to read between the lines.
- I don’t like people with whom you have to read between the lines all the time to know what they’re saying.
- When your partner tells you that you can do whatever you want with a straight face, you need to read between the lines to know that it’s a trap.
- Due to rigorous censorship, in the Soviet Union, people had to read between the lines of publications.