After having spent over a year on different Forums, I thought I start this thread on problems with human communication. A tentative list (in no particular order) could be the following:
1./ We don't listen to others
2./ We don't define our terms
3./ We don't ask questions
4./ We jump to conclusions
5./ We become emotional
6./ We attack people, not ideas
7./ We are sloppy
8./ We don't remember previous arguments
9./ We become insulting
10./ We tolerate our own contradictions
11./ We fail to follow through one topic
12./ We react to 'trigger words' out of context
13./ We are seldom goal-oriented
14./ We are disorganized
15./ We miss to see, or make a point
16./ We show little respect
17./ We often act like the other was an idiot
18./ We exaggerate the other's point
19./ We use little or no imagination
20./ We don't always respond to humour.
21./ We often keep going around the same circle
22./ We misquote
23./ We abuse basic rules of logic
24./ We seldom admit our mistakes
25./ We seldom admit to an opponent's point
26./ We very rarely apologize after being rude or unfair
27./ We use atrocious style, grammar and spelling
28./ We lecture. (suggested by 'lance)
29./ Lack of forgiveness (suggested by Tommy_Paine)
30./ Putting words in people's mouths (suggested by Tommy_Paine)
31./ Aggressive intimidation (suggested by Trisha)
Did I miss anything?
Every one of us is guilty of one or more of these points at one time or another.
A lot of the problems in communication have to do with respect for each other. Just ask yourself which of the mistakes I listed would an average person make, while talking to his boss, hoping for a promotion. He would certainly try very hard not to make any of them. He might not avoid all, but he would certainly try.
On the other hand, when we are talking to each other, among peers, or especially to those we assume are our ‘inferiors’, we don’t try that hard and we may even deliberately fall into one or another of the mistakes to show our ‘superiority’.
For example: a little while ago, in a thread about our favourite books, one obviously intelligent poster listed one particular book as his all time favourite. Another poster commented on it by saying: “That book is a pile of shit”.
What is wrong with this bit of communication? Only that in that short sentence the poster committed the following errors: Lack of curiosity; Failure to ask questions; Becoming emotional; Being sloppy; Show no respect; No imagination; Being insulting – just to name a few.
The poster could have said instead: “I am curious, why did you find it so good that you list it as your favourite? I have read it and did not like it for the following reasons:….”
This response would have opened up the possibility for the poster to learn something she may have missed, start an interesting dialogue, even make a friend instead of an enemy.
You know what I mean.
So I think that a good part of communication problems could be overcome if we treated each other with respect, the way we would like to be treated by others.
It is not really worth to make enemies and throw away chances of learning and exchanging ideas for a momentary feeling of superiority.
Please feel free to suggest any I missed (I am sure there are quite a few), so I can add them to the list. Who knows, it may be useful in future dialog, when one of us says to an opponent something like:
"Sir, you just committed communication error 3./; 5./; 11./; 24./; and 27./"
It will save a hell of a lot of typing! :-)
[ October 12, 2002: Message edited by: Zatamon ]