“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” (Peter Drucker)
And, therein lies the dilemma.
A recent text exchange with my landlord is a great example of how problematic communication can be.
Me: “it would have been nice to see you”.
Landlord: “I do everything I can do for the building and I do it the minute you ask, what’s your problem?” (It was freezing in my office and he had been out trying to fix it. )
Me: “Lol, I really like spending time with you and would like to have seen you.”
As humans we learn early that what we communicate has something to do with language, but not very much. The statistics vary but suggest that language is about 15% or 20% of communication. Many of us have learned the hard way that texting and email are Rorschachs for projecting feelings, innuendo and intent onto another person.
An old parlor game teases language, prosody and facial expression apart with some very funny outcomes. Take three emotions – happy, sad, angry – and pair each with the sentence, “It is snowing.” If you are from Boston your prosody will be quite different from someone who lives in Houston.
Communication develops within the guiding relationship and to teach language without regard for its rich and lovely permutations makes an already tenuous task even harder. RDI recognizes this and places language solidly within the framework of communication.
“I’ll be back” (AS or RS) and therein lies the meaning.