Translation. Everybody’s brain does it, even when it’s just English. You say x, but what I really hear is y.
Here’s a sampling of my personal mental translation entries. I’m not saying they’re all valid translations, but they’re in my brain nonetheless.
You say: That’s definitely true. I’m 100% sure.
I hear: That might be true. You should look it up later. If you care.
You say: Want to hear something funny?
I hear: You will be expected to laugh at what I’m about to say.
You say: Don’t ever eat at that restaurant. The waiters are very rude and didn’t even get my order right.
I hear: I’m grumpy and/or have absurdly high expectations. Also, here’s a restaurant you might try.
You say: I don’t like things that are too mainstream.
I hear: I’m confused about the criteria for judging whether something is good or bad, and I’m going to tell you about it.
You say: I’m not racist.
I hear: I am almost certainly racist.
You say: Did you see that game last night? Man, they really…
I hear: See if you can guess which sport I’m talking about in less than sixty seconds.
You say: Our government spends too much on foreign aid.
I hear: I vastly overestimate how much our government spends on foreign aid.
You say: I’m voting for Trump.
I hear: I was abused or neglected mentally or emotionally as a child.
You say: My wife literally can’t remember anything.
I hear: I’m going to make you figuratively saw off your own ears by the end of the night.
You say: Did you hear about [weird thing] that [public figure] did? Man, you know they did that on purpose as part of [calculated ploy to manipulate people].
I hear: I have confused cynicism with realism.
You say: I write a blog.
I hear: Clearly, I am judgmental and have far too much time on my hands.