Do you remember playing a game when you were younger where you would sit in a circle and pass a message around the circle until it reached the last person and then the last person to be told the story had to say it out loud? You had one chance to whisper the story in to the ear of the person sitting next to you and if they did not hear what you had said then it was their too bad. Do you remember how the final story was never the same as the initial story? That is what we call broken telephone; you pick up bits of information and based on what you hear you draw your own conclusions and form your own thoughts around whatever you assume you heard. The difference is that when you get older those stories can actually impact other people’s lives so playing broken telephone becomes a lot less fun when stories start flying around and although they may have an element of truth that does not make them the absolute truth.
The game is also known as Chinese Whispers and a variety of other names. Sometimes the messages that come out at the end are rather funny, because they are so far from the truth. The problem is that in reality how often are we given the opportunity to hear what the initial story was after we have heard the edited and re-edited version of the initial story. I have heard some very interesting twists to stories that have eventually gotten back to the person that they are about. I would never have thought that a silly game like broken telephone would actually feature in my adult life, but it has become clear that those high-school antics follow you throughout your life, because it is not a quality that is found in certain age groups but a quality that is found in certain people.
The next time someone shares a story with you that they heard through the grapevine maybe reconsider how truthful that story is. I am not saying that you friends who are sharing stories with you are lying all I am saying is that they are telling the story their way and putting emphasis on things they feel strongly about. Care to disagree or share your broken telephone story… Please do!