Communication is messy

Posted in People by tcrayford on May 30, 2008

No two human beings have exactly the same experience.

In fact, most of us have had remarkably different experiences.

This means that what means one thing to one person may well mean something completely different to another person (even one with similar upbringings/situations). In evolution, feelings developed long before language; and although words have developed a lot faster than the human psyche, it’s still hard to communicate exactly what you mean to another person.

If two humans have different takes on a concept, then the easiest way to communicate is to use a shared context.

Doing that requires you to quickly recognize what you have in common with another individual (if you care about telling them your ideas; which you really should). This skill can be extremely difficult, especially when the person you are talking to has little in common with you.

Even when you get lucky (which can be extremely fucking rare, depending on your circumstances), and find another individual who really gets it, some of your ideas will leave them scratching their heads.

I notice two trends amongst the people I choose to spend my time with. Either they get me straight away, or we’ve had mutual friends for so long that shared experience brings us together. Naturally, dualities don’t apply to the messy world; most of my friends are somewhere in between these two areas.

One friend in particular, has been a friend of friends for ages; but only recently have we discovered that we actually have some things in common (we really didn’t get on with each other when we first met). These aspects however, are things that I’ve discovered in myself after her being around for a while, that I never really noticed before.

My closest few friends however, hit it off with me straight away, and shared experience has just bought us closer together. In some ways, we’ve had a lot of similar experiences in our unshared past, and this is what makes us as close as we are now.

This unshared, yet similar experience allows us to communicate on the same levels, often by having my thoughts put in another persons words helps to clarify my concepts, as well as checking that we are discussing the same idea.

Shared experience allows people to communicate ideas to each other more effectively.

There will still be misunderstanding between them but these decrease as they spend more time talking to one another.