“Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people.” – Jim Rohn (Brain, 2001). Most of us do not realize that we are causing miscommunications while we are doing so. Studies show that we have believed we’ve communicated with the people we love better than we actually have.
Sometimes we have an “illusion of insight”, study co-author Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said in a university news release, which comes from growing close to friends and family. (Close, 2011). “Our problem in communicating with friends and spouses is that we have an illusion of insight. Getting close to someone appears to create the illusion of understanding more than actual understanding.” (Close , 2011).
I know that I am misunderstood often; meanwhile, I rarely do the misunderstanding. I most often bump heads with my fiancé but I most severely bump heads with my sister. My sister, Lissette, is 13 years older than I am; I have always assumed that our communication was open, clear, and effectively expressed. As it turns out I could not have been more wrong. I remember when I was 19 and I moved in with my sister; we had a great relationship, we were very happy with the living arrangements. That happiness was every so short lived. On several occasions we argued because one or the other perceived a symbol incorrectly.
Lissette and I eventually had a big fight about some laundry, long story short I had to move out. We fought not because either one did something wrong but because things that were said were taken out of context by the receiver. Comments that were made by the sender, that were simply intended to inform the receiver of certain aspects, had a negative chain reaction. In hind sight, I did not say with my body, tone, or facial expressions what I was really trying to encode a different manner. In other words, I now think that I may have come on too strong a tone and character and my sister understood what she read on my body, not listening to the words. Reflecting on this article and other readings throughout the week, I came to some interesting conclusions. Studies do indicate that people often times believe that they communicate better with close friends and family than with strangers.
“That closeness can lead people to overestimate how well they communicate, a phenomenon we term the ‘closeness-communication bias,'” study co-author Boaz Keysar, professor psychology professor at the University of Chicago, stated during a university news release © 2011 HealthDay. Whether we are face to face, back to back, in another room, or on the phone with each other, misunderstanding can and will happen without either party reacting well to the misinterpretations. When something is said, it is both the senders and receivers responsibility to make sure they are clear in what they are saying and/or hearing. Without this tactic, there will be misinterpretations between the sender and receiver.
As an effort to make sure that I don’t find myself in the miscommunication habit, I will have to work on my communication skills daily. I also believe that it is very easy to expect someone close to you to understand you, but it is more complex than simply understanding words. I will have to learn to appreciate that not everyone I love will always be on the same page as me. Additionally, I can express how I am feeling about the senders’ tones and their facial expressions, so that we will be on that same page. I can also gracefully place pauses and breaks into my conversations in order to allow the receiver time to give feedback.
In these ways both the receiver and myself, the sender, will not assume what the other is saying or thinking. In chapter three of Interpersonal Communication it list things that we can do to improve our intrapersonal communication. One way you can increase awareness is to pay attention to what you select to focus on and how you interpret your world, i.e. is the glass half full or half empty? Another is to increase your self-awareness “To improve your communication skills, you must first increase your self-awareness to understand how you interpret your world” (Sole, K. 2011)
Close relationships sometimes mask poor communication. (2011, January). U.S.
News & WorldReport, 1. Retrieved from ABI/INFORM Global. Document ID: 2270370591.
Sole, K. (2011).Making connections: Understanding interpersonal communication. San Diego,CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. (https://content.ashford.edu)