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“You just don’t get it!”

This is probably one of the most uttered statements during an argument. Having been on both sides of this statement, the most common response ironically is “I do get it!” and possibly “It’s you who don’t get it!”

This is probably one of the strangest exchange of words ever said (and I do it myself)! After all, if the second person did get it, wouldn’t he be able to express that to the first person? The ability of being able to express the idea back is part of the “getting it”!

Yet, while this makes a lot of logical sense, it is often hard to recognize this when you’re actually in the situation and on the side that “doesn’t get it”. When someone yells at you “Ahhhh!! You don’t get it!!” and you feel that you see things very clearly, your natural response is to become defensive and convey the way that you do get it. Of course, precisely because you don’t get it, the other person sees this defense as just further proof that you have no idea what he is talking about.

Let’s take a practical example between a man and a woman discussing the toilet seat:

Woman: Ahhhh, please put the toilet seat down! I don’t want to get up at night and accidentally sit on the bowl!
Man: But it’s more efficient if you just put it down when you need to. That way, each of us touches the toilet seat the same amount.
Woman: Yeah, but I don’t like touching it! It’s so gross!
Man: Well, that’s not fair!! I have to touch it too and I don’t find it that gross!
Woman: Ahhhh!! You don’t get it!
Man: I do get it! You just want me to do more work!
Woman: No! That’s not it at all!
Man: That’s how you always are, making me….

In this example, it’s clear that the guy doesn’t really understand the woman’s feeling of being grossed out. When he says, “I do get it!”, he is really saying it makes sense from his point of view. Well, duh! It always makes sense from a person’s own point of view!

From his perspective, the task of lowering the toilet seat is equally “gross” for both of them, so he perceives the woman saying that it’s gross as a kid complaining. After all, he’s not complaining about it, right? So of course, by complaining, the woman is just being very childish and unfair. Things seem “crystal clear” from this point of view.

However, it is precisely in this seemingly “crystal clear” state that you have to accept that you are missing part of the picture. In this case, the guy does not quite understand the intensity of the woman’s feelings towards the grossness of touching the toilet seat. He “doesn’t get it” because he’s not listening and just assumes that it’s equally gross.

The other person certain isn’t lying when he says that he feels you don’t get it! So, at the very least, you understand his point of view but don’t understand how to communicate it back effectively. At the very worst, your perception of what his point of view is is completely wrong! Either way, you are missing part of the picture! Aka “You don’t get it”!

Interestingly, this means that whenever anyone says that to you, it’s automatically true – no matter how right you think you are! Therefore, when you hear the words “You don’t get it!”, that’s a really good sign that you should be quiet and start listening.

On another note, the person saying these words is generally in a state where he is about to stop communicating, because he feels (or is close to feeling) that the other person is incapable of seeing it from his perspective. As a result, even if you are willing to listen right then, he may still not be able to get the feeling of being understood since he isn’t really listening at that point either! So if you are the person uttering those words, remember to listen too! If you keep talking, how can the other person convey to you that he understands?

So next time you hear the words “You don’t get it!”, it’s probably a good time to close your mouth and open your ears!

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13 Responses to “You Just Don’t Get It!”

  1. Kate on January 15th, 2008 8:02 am

    Well, if there are splatters on the underside of the toilet seat, they were put there by the partner who stands to pee.

    That said, there is an easy solution. If it bothers men so much to put the toilet seat down after use, they should just sit to pee too.

  2. Kate on January 15th, 2008 8:03 am

    By the way, I did get your point about “you just don’t get it.”

    This is a bit of a “long-standing” issue with me…

  3. Warren on January 16th, 2008 3:33 pm

    @Kate: Haha! That is a good third solution :-)

  4. Andrea Hess|Empowered Soul on January 22nd, 2008 10:48 am

    I recommend separate bathrooms altogether. :-)

  5. VM|Peace-Joy-Love on February 12th, 2008 11:28 am

    Yeah, I’ve heard this before…LOL…I will definitely try closing my mouth and opening my ears next time…;-)

  6. therapydoc on February 12th, 2008 2:39 pm

    So true. And stop thinking about what you’re going to say next.

  7. Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker on February 22nd, 2008 12:58 pm

    Looking at the other person’s point of view during an argument is so hard to do and well worth the effort. It is even better if they will do the same for you. With me, it doesn’t happen very often. Ego is too busy wanting to be right to want to look at the other person’s point of view.

  8. Warren on February 22nd, 2008 3:31 pm

    @Patricia: Yeah, that is really very true! It’s especially hard to do when the other person doesn’t do that for you.

  9. An Online Dating Carnival, Jan 15, 2008 : SuccessPart2.Com on June 17th, 2008 2:29 pm

    [...] Wong presents You Just Don?t Get It! posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, “Why you should stop talking and start [...]

  10. Ray on November 20th, 2008 6:45 am

    This whole argument is rediculous. If you need it up when you get there,, pick it up and if you need it down, put it down. Cut the crap and grow up!! GET IT??????

  11. Ray on November 20th, 2008 6:49 am

    Oh,,,, and another thing. Talk about GROSS? Wash Your Damned Hands When Your Done!!!!!

  12. girl on January 12th, 2010 1:42 pm

    gross?? but us girls sit on them. then we make love to the guy.

  13. Terry Davis on May 14th, 2010 6:26 am

    I agree that any time someone reverts to “You don’t get it.”, one should stop talking. One should just walk away from the person that says such a thing because it is an absolutely low-handed insult. This is just another way to invalidate anyone who has a contrary opinion by labeling them. Don’t agree that there are serious issues with embracing and accepting homosexuality – you’re homophobic. Don’t agree with a political view point – you’re a liberal or a leftist. Don’t agree with me – you don’t get it. So many examples of mentally lazy/weak people that just want to take the easy way out of challenging discussion. Leave them in their little worlds: Take the high road – there’s less traffic there.