Monday, December 27, 2010

Communication woes!

The World today has seen tremendous advancements in communication technologies but when it comes to humans communicating with each other, no amount of technology advancement is going to compensate if we make wrong assumptions. 

Virginia Woolf said in The Waves, one of her widely appreciated works and a literary master piece written based on the technique, Stream of consciousness - "We are difficult to read and we read others badly, either blinded by Sun or misled by shadows". How true it is! Alongside that, my most favorite quote is by Iris Murdoch who says, "Human beings prefer the distraction of confrontation to the difficult effort of communicating openly and honestly"

Just thinking about these quotes takes me back to my engineering college days when British Council Library in Chennai used to be my second home.  But for all the books that I have read, I have come to realize that reading these novels, taking down these nice quotes and remembering them is one thing and following them is completely another! In the heat of the moment, when we are "actually blinded by the sun" or "misled by the shadows", we don't realize that we as human beings are "difficult to read" and worse, we "read others badly"! 

I have always, after any misunderstanding with friends, never shied away from confronting the person and asking him/her, what the fault is. In the process, I have ignored my ego, its bloated nature and put people before its size. Sometimes, it has worked and sometimes, it hasn't. The other person's ego should also come down by some notches for reconciliation to take place. 

To cut this rambling short, all I can think of saying is, among friends, it is OK to fight but not OK to have bloated egos. With age, the size of our egos also increases and our ability to listen diminishes. We close our ears and fail to put ourselves in the other person's shoes. The results can be quite devastating for friendships and relationships. A friendship takes an investment of huge time and effort but in one instance of misunderstanding, it can be broken to shards and destroyed - all because somebody did not have the courage and the humility to apologize and clarify. 

As human beings, we tend to commit the same mistakes again and again and never learn from them. For a change, we should strive to be sensitive to the feelings of others and listen to them with open minds especially if it is one's friend. This is possible only if we communicate - F2F and with eye contact. 

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