Efficiency and trustworthiness of communication are highly influenced by the nature of the existing relationship. While close relationships could help foster effective communication, failure to ensure that the information being communicated is objective, timely, and well encoded could result in poor communication.
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Ineffective communication often goes unnoticed. A close relationship is often interpreted by people to mean that communication between the parties concerned is effective. Sole (2001) is of the opinion that the existence of close relationships makes the sender of information not to be focused on conceptualizing the exact manner in which the information being communicated would be decoded and understood by the receiver.
The greatest challenge that hinders effective communication among people who relates well is making the weird assumption that such a relationship will automatically translate to clear conceptualization of the information being communicated (HealthDay, 2011).
One such instance happened in a situation where a close friend winked at me in an attempt to signal me not say what he believed I wanted to say in response to a question that had been directed to me in a meeting. Presumably, the friend intended to tell me not to provide an answer to a question that had just been asked about the misappropriation of funds by another friend.
Unfortunately, having been used to the fact that the friend often winked at me when giving me a go ahead to do something, I went ahead to tell the truth to the committee members on the matter. The events that ensued were very disastrous as the friend who had misappropriated the money was expelled from the group. Had proper communication been undertaken, the issue would have been addressed through a more constructive and objective approach.
To avoid a repeat of such an episode, the choice of clear, universal, and easy to interpret communication approaches should always be done. To foster effective communication and interpretation of nonverbal communication mechanisms, people should never assume that mutual relationships and interests automatically translate to clear understanding the information being communicated.
As evidenced in my scenario, people in close relationships could be tempted to assume or exaggerate the information being communicated based on both their past experiences in life and their daily interactions (Sole, 2011; HealthDay, 2011).
In the event that such an unfortunate incidence happens again, instant explanation should be given so as to avoid possible misjudgment and severe repercussions. This will help to make communication clearer and thus eliminate poor judgment and making of unwarranted and detrimental assumptions.
It would also help to ensure that people in close relationships understand each other’s perspective by eliminating the “illusion of insight” and being more focused on establishing actual conceptualization of the information being communicated (HealthDay, 2011).
The “closeness-communication bias” syndrome highly contributes to over-estimation of the effectiveness and reliability of communication (HealthDay, 2011). Use of signals and phrases that have unclear or ambiguous meaning should always be avoided.
In a social setting, this would help to strengthen relationships by reducing conflicts, improving people’s adoption of ideas, and fostering diversity. Close relationships at the workplace are sometimes dangerous as they hinder transparency, accountability, team building, innovation and creativity, and faster and cost-effective project completion.
The above discussion reveals that if not objectively addressed, close relationships can only help to mask disgraceful communication. It is also evident that ineffective communication skills are dangerous not only for effective communication but also to the thriving of a relationship. Communication problems encountered in close relationships should be identified and addressed in a timely and efficient manner.
HealthDay. (2011). Close Relationships Sometimes Mask Poor Communication. People may think loved ones understand them better than they actually do, research shows. The U.S. National Library of Medicine. Web.
Sole, K. (2011). Making connections: Understanding interpersonal communication. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.