A listener’s state of mind is different from a speaker’s.
It is more dreamy, often more visual, and has a wider range of associations in play.
For this reason, listeners often react more to their own minds than to what the speaker meant.
An example of this occurred recently.
While my partner was speaking, she referred to someone as a “douche bag.” She meant to distinguish that person from someone else with the same name (who is not a douche bag).
As she said “douche bag,” a strong image rose in my mind of the person in question being pushed into a region of darkness.
In response to that image, I protested “he is not a douche bag”; not so much to recover his honor or reputation as to keep him from being pushed further into the darkness.
She changed her wording and the conversation went on. I completely forgot the incident and the image that had arisen in my mind.
The next morning my partner brought the subject up again and explained in FIML detail why she had used “douche bag.” The memory came back to me.
It’s a good example of how a speaker’s mind differs from a listener’s.