【明報專訊】Communication breakdowns happen on a daily basis, between individuals and institutions alike. A text message meant as a joke may be received as an insult. An email trying to clarify a situation may actually double up on the rift. Communication is so frustrating sometimes that many would opt to avoid it at all cost. We apply plaster and random adhesives to a leaking pipe without finding out what the pipe is made of. You do realise that glue doesn't hold a plastic pipe in place, right?
Non-communication is typical between people who know each other well, or at least think so. They often conclude that communication will be nothing but futile even before trying, since they have already known the other person inside out. Rather than talking things out, these individuals adapt their preferences and behaviours, hoping to smoothen out rugged relationships. At the same time, they cannot help but pity themselves about the "sacrifices" left unnoticed by the other party. Before long, they will call it quits amid a sudden emotional outburst, because they have "had enough". Naturally, the other party won't be pleased by the unexplained emotions that constantly blow up in their faces.
While communication can be hard, non-communication robs any party of a chance to properly understand and explain. Given how vastly different brains are wired and experiences are varied, there is a good chance that people act out of a reasoning process entirely foreign to you. If you are someone who jumps at an annual sale advertisement, you will struggle to understand why your dad spends a week researching other purchasing options, while later lamenting missing the golden best buy at your favourite online shop. Rather than dismissing this as stubbornness, perhaps try harder to find out why. The result may surprise both of you and contribute to a solution that actually lessen frustration.
Want an actual example? We'll get to it next week.
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