When we think about topics in communications theory, a few ideas come to mind, mostly in the self-help arena: How can we be better messengers? How can digital media help bridge the social cultural gaps in communications?
But what I keep coming back to is how can people be such bad communicators? It boggles my mind that some people just say whatever is on their mind without regards to how it will affect others. Communicating is such a powerful tool, and yet some people just throw it around, without regards to what may happen when it lands.
Of course, I have a personal reference for this. I had a good friend for over a decade that was like this. He said whatever was on his mind, without caring about the recipients of his message. If that was his truth value, then it had to be expressed as he understood it: no censorship of audience, no filters of any kind.
When he first met my father, he was his usual self. My dad, all- filter (that’s where I think I get it from), said nothing to him or me about this. In fact, he said very little at all. But later through my other family members, I found out that he thought my friend’s behavior and a joke he made were disrespectful. And a decade-long friendship was over.
I constantly tell my English students to remember their target audience when they are writing. We say what we feel, but we may have to tweak it so it can resonate with the target audience. I wonder why that is such a hard concept for some people to grasp? Especially when we are confronted daily with stories of some politician or celebrity caught saying something inflammatory and having to apologize for it.
What makes us so bad at communicating?
Remember the Titans provides “equipment for living” for people who think that everyone wants them to fail.