What The Affair taught me about Perspective

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Have you seen the show, “The Affair”?  It’s on Showtime after “Homeland”.

I missed the first season but, due to my wife’s love of the show, I was intrigued enough to stay up and watch the first two episodes of Season 2 last night.

In a nutshell, a man and a wife are getting a divorce in large part due to his inability to remain faithful.  Hence the title.

The episode begins, Part 1 Noah.  And then goes into the story from where the season left off last year. I’m guessing that as I didn’t see a second of the show last season.

It’s like other shows you would watch.  Noah is the main character and it shows him fighting with his soon-to-be ex mother in law.  It shows the struggles he has with his two sons, shows the mediation with him and his soon-to-be ex wife.

It shows him in a cab ride home returning to his lover and their happy relationship.

OK, got it.  This guy is pretty cool despite the fact that he was unfaithful.

The screen goes dark and the next segment begins, Part 2 Helen.

Helen is the ex wife.

This scene opens up to a love scene involving her and another man.  She doesn’t appear to be too into it.  At least nowhere near as much as he is.

This time, the story is following Helen as she goes about her day.  She picks up her daughter from dance class and overhears two other moms talking about her husband’s affair and the breakup of her marriage.  Awkward.

The next scene shows her at the mediation table talking with the mediator as they wait for her husband to arrive.  He finally arrives.

This is where it get’s confusing.  It’s the same meeting but it’s an entirely different conversation.  The clothes they are wearing are different.  The two men sit next to each other as opposed to the earlier scene where the mediator sat in the middle with Helen and Noah on opposing sides.

The conversation is completely different.  Noah seems like an absolute asshole in this part.

It took me the entire show to realize what the heck was going on.  The first part was Noah’s perspective and the second was Helen’s perspective.

The second episode was very similar.  Two more parts, the first was Noah’s lover’s point of view, the second was Noah’s lover’s ex husband’s point of view.

Very interesting but I may have to abandon ship on this show, too much going on.

 

It’s all about Perspective.

What the show did point out to me is that we are all living completely different lives.  The conversations we have with each other are basically two different talks.  What I say and what you hear is entirely different.

How you look at me and how I perceive that look are most likely not even close to being similar.

Even the emails and texts that are sent.  Especially the texts that are sent.  It is almost impossible to be on the same page.

I think this is an important realization.  It’s good to understand this.  There are so many factors that go into how we perceive things.  And, unless you are trying, it is not easy to see things from another’s perspective.

And when emotions are high and the topic or situation is a sensitive one than forget about it.  The conversation has no chance.

 

What can we do?

I think we need to listen better.  Hear the words that are coming out of the mouths of the people we are talking to and try to understand what they mean, not what they mean to us.

Don’t get defensive.  Most likely the person you are talking to isn’t attacking you.  They are probably just trying to be heard.

When talking with people, it might help to realize that they aren’t hearing what you are saying.  They are hearing what your words mean to them.  It could be two different things.

I’m not saying you need to walk on eggshells.  But if the goal of the conversation is to get something accomplished then it’s a good idea to try to see things from the point of view of the person you are talking with.

 

-Keith Laskey

 

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