What is said and what is heard --

usually are not the same.

Since we all have multiple intentions and sensory inputs simultaneously, most of our communications have many components mashed together.

The speaker has a different set of priorities than the listeners, who extract the portions important to them, seldom the priority meant.

As soon as one realizes “this doesn’t feel comfortable”, clarity can be helped by simply asking back “Do you mean…?” and by not assuming negative purpose on either part.  It also helps to include a sensory of your own that you had not been noticing at the moment, i.e. smell, muscle tension, or your posture will bring you more present.

This is easier to practice with casual connections than with our most important ones.