Why is Communication so Hard?

By | 16/11/2015

We are all extremely focused on ourselves. We live as if everyone else knew exactly what’s going on with us, without noticing just how difficult it is to communicate efficiently.  Part of it might be that the inarguable differences between sexes establish an even wider communication divide between men and women, but it’s even more complex than that.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to stop and think about the human condition. We like to be special, one-of-a-kind; we notice the differences in our appearance, but believe our minds and emotions are essentially alike.

We are pleased by the qualities that make us special in a good way, because it feeds our vanity, but on the other hand, we imagine everyone’s internal world is just the same. When we recognize that everyone is indeed unique, we have to understand that each and every one of us is a solitary island, albeit one surrounded by millions more.

We love feeling special; we hate feeling lonely. The solution we find to this contradiction is defining us all as beings of the same make, even if we have some quirks that can attract attention and make us proud of ourselves.

It might even be said that accepting the existence of radical differences would not only give us a clear understanding of our loneliness, but would also prevent us from making any kind of comparison, which would be terrible for our vanity—since different qualities cannot be compared.

So we keep on believing others are just like us, feel as we do and, in essence, think as we do. We actually get annoyed at differences of opinion, and even fail to consider that the same word might have a different meaning in someone else’s brain. We don’t back down, even when it comes to the most banal of issues. For example, “traditional” might be an offense to an innovator and a compliment to a conservative; “fattening” means different things to thin and overweight people.

We project on other people the way we think and are. Then, we communicate with them as if they were going to understand everything exactly as we are saying it. The result couldn’t be anything but a bunch of misunderstandings and involuntary (or not) aggressions, determined by words that are heard differently from how they were spoken.

If we want to begin to truly communicate, we’ll have to start from the understanding that the other person is autonomous and not an extension fof us. Then, we might build a bridge between two islands.

Tradução: Amanda Morris