All living beings communicate by some mode or the other every day. If we observe closely we will discover some unique mode of communication among animals. I have been observing few animals from my childhood including our pet dogs, cats, parrots and white mouse. My mother is a great lover of animals. We used to discuss about the likes, dislikes and needs of our pets. One thing that we found common among all our pets is that all of them need love, care and affection. We will think more about them later. Let’s now focus on the most important species on earth – The Human Being.
As children, we start communicating to our parents, elders from the beginning even before understanding what communication is. A baby cries when she/he feels hungry. Crying is an effective mode of communication that a mother understands better as no body else. Very few people understand this fact including the father himself when a baby cries. As elders we cry at times for different reasons. We express our grief, sorrow and sometimes anger by crying. Some people cry out of happiness. Sometime we are so happy that we could not control suppressing our happiness before others and tears come out of our eyes. Especially we feel like this when we get surprise happiness after a long fight with our sorrow that we’re not expecting.
Sometimes negativities are so much around us that we suspect people even our well wishers. We don’t take care much about their words and try to find negative meaning out of it. We understand later when we realize the truth behind their words why it’s being told to us repeatedly. Particularly these things happen with children and at times with elders too. Why do we find it so difficult to live with others without sacrificing or prioritizing our personal needs?
Direct communication can be helpful to meet urgent requirements even if we have doubt over its long term benefits. Indirect communication is more helpful while there is no urgency and we want to meet our long term objectives. Let’s analyze a situation where we love two people who have conflict among themselves and we don’t want to lose anybody in our life because of their personal conflicts. A very common example of such a situation could be with a child whose parents often quarrel with each other and he could only witness the event keeping his mouth shut. He could not communicate his thoughts to them directly because of the fear of losing one or both of them eventually and at the same time finds it difficult to digest the fact.
Indirect mode of communication may help here. She/he has to play dual role here, sometimes as a daughter/son and sometime as a mother/father. Do I say the son/daughter has to be the father/mother of his/her father/mother? Yes. It may seem absurd and immature to at first glance but there is a real possibility of success if we can conduct such an experiment where the son/daughter has outgrown himself/herself in terms of life’s experience. How can I write this, is it from my personal experience? No. I have reached here partly from my discussion with people and significantly from a simple fact. That is “children are the best people to bond a family rather that any other friends/relatives”. This could be true with ‘n’ number of people in love even if outside our family if we can extend our love and empathy for others. Children can solve few problems effectively where a counselor fails using indirect mode of communication.
To understand human beings better we must develop effective communication skills in us. Sometime we pass wrong message to others through our notes or speech because of our uncontrolled thoughts and mood even though we don’t have any bad intention. I sometime try to recover something from my past memory and provide some information without analyzing the facts properly resulting in insufficient and incorrect information even though not false. These things happen because of improper analysis of our act prior to it and when we are in a hurry and fail to gain control over our emotions because of anger.
Sometimes we don’t want to provide personal information to strangers or people with whom we are not very familiar and in order to protect ourselves and trying to escape from a situation we provide wrong information to them intentionally so that the person will not feel neglected. Actually it causes more harm than good to us. It’s really very difficult to say no about something we don’t like effectively because of the fear of losing friends and relatives in our life. Indirect mode of communication helps where a direct mode fails.
There could be a situation where I want to make a person understand something and find it difficult to communicate directly because of the fear of its consequences. I may lose him/her in the process. This is often true where the receiver is a pessimist. Can we change pessimists to optimists? How can effective communication help here? This is a real challenge for managers. Personally I like comments and criticism as it helps me in my personal growth to become a better human being first before everything else. But how’ll the other person know about it unless I communicate?
Is it a good idea to use negative mode of communication? I don’t know. It has a double impact. It could be disastrous and it could be fruitful. When it’s fruitful it has long term benefits. Sometimes we use this with people whom we don’t trust to know more about them. Nobody can hear unpleasant words about their loved ones in any mode of communication. When we hear such words our perception changes about the person who talks like this and we think negative about her/him even though she/he is our well wisher as we don’t realize the truth at first.
This often happens because we occupy the entire space in our life for our own thoughts and fail to think about others or provide some space for others in our life. But why do we hear such words from others. We may be the source and root cause behind it without our knowledge even though we are innocent. So, let’s analyze ourselves first before we start questioning others. Sometimes I don’t know right or wrong about much of my own writings that comes from my thoughts. We understand late only when it reaches us through comments and criticism. This is a very effective mode of communication. Personally I like direct mode of communication even if I fail to evaluate a situation well at first. It is beneficial to me as it corrects me without much delay and I find enough time to analyze the issue later. Be it direct or be it indirect, any mode of communication has some benefits and few drawbacks. These are all situational. The same mode of communication may be helpful for one person while irritating for the other. I am thankful to all who use a direct mode of communication while interacting with me.
* First published at http://writersatchatterati.blogspot.in/ on Friday, 23 May 2008