A different meaning.

I booked us at a first floor apartment.

As we arrived and were taken to our room, we ascended a flight of stairs. At first I thought they gave us a different room than was advertised. For us, the stairs do not matter. In fact, I would prefer being on the upper level. However, growing up in the United States, I call the ground floor the first floor and the second story the second floor.

Most of the world calls the ground the ground and the next level after a flight of stairs the first floor.

For someone who struggled with stairs, this would have been a very important difference in communication.

This is an obvious cultural example, in which I eventually found a clear explanation for the differences in our words. But how often do us humans misunderstand eachother without a clear understanding of the difference in meaning we assign to the same words and phrases?

If you are having trouble communicating with someone, it is possible that the other person isn’t just a jerk. It’s possible that they are assigning a different meaning to words or actions than yourself.

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