Monday, January 19, 2009

Communication Breakdown

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw

When was the last time you had an argument with someone? What was the cause of it? Chances are it's due to communication breakdown.

J & I had gone to the trails at the hill for some exercise. At the start of the trails, he started to jog off and said something about meeting at the guardhouse. I wasn't too pleased. I thought that we were going to walk together, spend some quality time together. He didn't mention the run earlier when he asked if I wanted to go to the hills. Perhaps subconsciously, I ignored the signs when he strapped the heart monitor earlier. What is done is done. He was off before I could say "Aye" or "Nay".

Now, there are 2 guardhouses in the hills - One at the crossroad and the other downhill at the start of the trail. When I didn't see him at the cross road, I reasoned that since he ran, he would be ahead of me and he would be at the guardhouse downhill. To cut a long story short, he wasn't. I waited and waited, seething. As it was getting late and we had dinner plans, I headed home by myself. Meanwhile, J was waiting and searching for me at the guardhouse at the cross road. He back-tracked hoping to bump into me (which obviously didn't happen since I was waiting downhill).

This was a classic example of communication breakdown. Could we have avoided all the stress and frustration if we had communicated properly? I think so. If we had taken the time to communicate our expectations from the start or if we had taken the time to clarify our meeting place, we would have both enjoyed our exercise time more. Perhaps, we should heed the advice of the Greek philosopher, Epictetus who said “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

1 comment:

Sweet Jasmine said...

This is just like any breakdown that causes haywire and panic. Lucky it was just stress and fustration and not anything worse.