But I appreciate the example you shared here:
Hmmm. I could see how someone might interpret your first statement as a "gentle" way of saying you'd prefer to stay at home. I could also see how your friend's first response might come from some insecurity s/he has about your desire to hang out with him/her. It depends on the dynamic between you two, which I don't know.I do have a real life example I'll try to get it as close as possible, but i know it's not the same as on here
me:you know, I would be just as happy staying at home learning russian and playing final fantasy
friend: oh so you'd rather be at home then hang out with me?
me: no I'm saying that I'd like both equally
friend: if you want i can drop you off
me: No I'd be happy either way. I'm happy hanging out with you, but I'd also be happy if we didn't hang out
friend: what are you saying?
me: That I would be happy in the same situation
friend: oh you're saying that you would have had a good day either way?
I think the only reason why she didn't get super pissed is because she knows me and knows that has happened to me in the past.
Something's pinging at the back of my head - what if the issue in that particular exchange is not your directness (which is specifically related to honesty and yields questions about hidden agendas etc), but rather your literalness (which is related to communication style and not honesty specifically)?
Like that first line of what you wrote ("you know, I would be just as happy staying at home learning russian and playing final fantasy") it means exactly what you say it means, in a very literal sense. But in the context of someone else suggesting you hang out with them and go out, it has more than one meaning because it weights things on the other side of what they're suggesting. Depending on the context, I could see it meaning either of those things in an interaction. Now, people who are more literally minded in communication won't be phased by this. But people whose communication style isn't so literal will pick up the other contextually possible meanings (as an example, INFJs can be direct, but I think we're seldom hardcore literal in our communication style). And then, people who aren't literal PLUS have their own internal issues and distortions and a practice of projecting that stuff onto others will really go to town with fantasies about what you're saying, no matter how much you try to correct them.
So my two cents: There's nothing wrong with having a literal communication style. It's just one way to communicate. IMO the second group - people who can misunderstand because we just aren't hardcore literal in our usual communication style - can learn through observation, interaction and dialogue that this is how you are. If you're so inclined, I think you could probably help people learn, by knowing about the literalness in how you communicate and explicitly letting people know about it (eta: assuming that I'm accurate in naming it that way, which I don't know for sure). So for example, dealing with someone new who you believe is just misunderstanding, you could mention at some point in that interaction that people do sometimes misinterpret what you say and you could let them know that really, you use words in a very literal (basic?) way and can best be understood from that space.
(BTW, I feel like I see echoes of some of the dynamics between my INPF and me in your interaction with your friend. My partner can be pretty literal in how she uses words sometimes, and I can pick up on multiple contextual meanings. It has led to misunderstandings. Hmmmm ... I need to think more about this.)
But people in the third group - people who have whatever issues they plug your words into and then take off running with projections of what they think you mean and keep going and going no matter how much you try to let them know what you're saying - those people aren't oriented toward learning how you interact, what you mean, etc. They're just freaking out and playing out a script and I don't think there's much that can be done with someone who's in that space because all they're going to do is argue with you when you seek to clarify what you meant, trying to get the interaction back into their script, and it will just escalate if you continue to engage.
I don't know the proportion - how many people you experience this with are in the second group (where it's misunderstanding based on different communication styles and who can/will learn) versus how many people you experience this with are in that third group.
I also feel like if you have enough personal history with someone and there has been real and unresolved hurt between you two as part of that, you could at some point get a mix of the second and third group response from someone. Meaning, someone who might otherwise know that that's how you communicate could get triggered based on some unresolved hurt between the two of you specifically, and kind of go off. In that case, seems to me the real issue isn't how you communicate but rather the confusion and pain generated from unresolved hurt between two people.
I don't know how much of what I just wrote makes sense outside my own head, though.