Webster’s dictionary defines communication as…
Communication is the transfer of thoughts, information, and ideas. Communication is one of the greatest challenges of every organization, team, and relationship. For some reason, humans often struggle to effectively communicate what we mean or are truly feeling through our words and actions. This can lead to misunderstanding and hurt feelings that could have otherwise been avoided.
The best way to avoid miscommunication is avoid engaging in communication whenever possible. When it comes to relationships, you can’t hurt someone with your words if you don’t talk to them. Avoiding communication also frees up your time to work on problems individually without needing to involve others.
A case against communication
Communication is difficult. Because people each have unique experiences, ideas, worldviews, and beliefs, we interpret things differently. This impacts our ability to communicate. Whenever someone tries to express what they are thinking to different people, they may interpret what is being said differently. This can lead to people misunderstanding the intent of the communication, and often results in damaged relationships or ineffective collaboration.
We have probably all experienced this in some form or another. What was intended to be a civil conversation about why your significant other should stop leaving their clothes on the floor can become an argument about why you don’t take responsibility in the relationship. A team meeting that was meant to bring the team together, refocus the project goals, and come up with an explicit list of actions steps can become a contentious discussion about the team hierarchy.
The talkative ones
Some people say that communication is worth the trouble. They even go so far to say communication is vital to a healthy relationship or well-functioning team. They claim the communication of ideas are beneficial to a project. That it will combine everyone’s input and there will be some good ideas that will help improve the project. In the case of relationships, these same people will say that communication facilitates understanding. Understanding, they say, that can prevent hurt feelings and damaging to the relationship. They claim that after all, if we know what bothers someone, or what makes them feel loved, or even what they like and don’t like, we can act on that knowledge and be a better friend or partner. They are willing to risk the misunderstanding and hurt feelings for the chance to be able to better understand what other people are thinking or feeling.
In the end, we each much decide what is important. Is it more important to you to preserve your time and reduce the risks of miscommunication by avoiding communication whenever possible? Or will you take your chances and spend your time actually trying to understand others?