The easiest mistake is to confuse contempt with meekness or compliance.
The person who never argues, responds, displays any form of rebellion may not agree, may not be cowed, may simply hold the other in contempt.
People who don’t respond may often think that the speaker is not worth breath.
Many Bosses From Hell are stunned when their employees walk out. Some are shocked when they give evidence against them at hearings.
This is because unless one is astute it is not easy to appreciate contempt.
Many people couldn’t care less. It doesn’t reach the level of contempt, it is apathy.
Too often one misreads the real sentiment, and gets the entire episode wrong.