The game you played as a child, where one person whispered a sentence into another person’s ear, and the message goes around the circle until the last person repeats what they heard? The end result was never the same as the original message. It was hilarious as a party game, but it’s not funny when it’s played in real life.
I recently had an incident of “telephone” played on me. The original message was mis-heard or mis-interpreted. The fallout was spectacular. The danger of playing telephone in real life is that the re-telling of the event can become more and more embellished. Motivations and hidden meanings are analyzed at length. Past behavior is brought forward, examined in minute detail, and ultimately judged suspicious. In the end, a person can be damned, without ever having been extended the courtesy of being asked outright, “what did it mean?”
When we start judging and condemning a person without giving him or her a chance to defend, or explain, we aren’t being grown-ups. Real maturity is extending grace- in this case the benefit of the doubt. Mature folk remember that we are all bumbling around, trying to fit in to this new place with new people who don’t really know each other all that well.
The lesson learned throughout this ordeal is: treat each other gently. There are plenty of mean people in the world. We need to nurture more, and hate less.