Correcting Communication Misconceptions

Communication occurs even without complete understanding. Most people think that for communication to happen, both communicators must completely understand each other. This, however, is not the case. Communication doesn’t always require a serious intention to transfer information on the part of the communicators. For instance, social rituals require people to greet each other and ask how the other person was doing even when the communicators actually have no need to know the answers to this question. The interaction, also called phatic communication, primarily serves as a means to establish rapport or maintain connections rather than convey or receive information. 

Communication does not always solve conflicts.

Communication is only a tool for expression and, depending on how the communicators use this tool, may bring about positive or negative results. Sometimes, the best way to solve a conflict is to avoid communication for the moment, especially when the tension is still high. More communication does not guarantee solutions to relationship problems, especially if the communicators are just forced to interact. Consider the situation, in which two boys who had just been in a fight were forced to shake hands and apologize to each other. At times, more communication does not resolve the conflict and instead even makes the situation worse. 

No single person or event causes another’s reaction.

Communication does not occur in a vacuum. It is inaccurate to say that a particular expression directly caused a reaction. There are many factors that influence one’s response towards a message. For example, someone may think another person is overreacting towards a statement or a situation; however, since communication is an ongoing process, it is impossible to point out where exactly the reaction was coming from. 

Communication is not simple.

Since people have been communicating all their lives, from the moment they were born, most believe that communicating is an inherent ability and that being a good communicator doesn’t require practice, training, or further studies. The opposite, however, is true. Even the best communicators experience confusion and misunderstand others.