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  • Writer's pictureMofoluke Ayoola

Perspectives & Communication Barriers

Updated: Apr 21

I had a meaningful conversation with an old colleague, Fara, during my recent trip. Just after the conclusion of International Women's History Month in March, her visit sparked a deep conversation on female collaborations, gatekeeping, and the intricate dynamics of communication perspectives. Reflecting on our exchange, I realized the value of our personal experiences and asked for Fara's permission to share her unique insights on my blog.

Fara is known for her ability to communicate effectively. I can describe her as mature and open-minded, so she was one of the few I let into my space during my trip.

One day, Fara innocently asked her older friend, Moyo, a question. However, the response she received was far from what she expected, leaving a bitter taste in Moyo's mouth. Fara, caught off guard by the sudden tension, immediately apologized. But her apology fell on deaf ears. Moyo brushed off the issue without addressing it properly.

Despite Fara's innocent intentions, Moyo misinterpreted her question, leading to a negative outcome. As time passed, their relationship deteriorated. Fara was perplexed, unable to comprehend how a seemingly harmless conversation could cause such a rift. This incident made Fara ponder the complexities of communication. She realized that people communicate based on their unique experiences and perceptions and understood this would vary from person to person. She thought about how assumptions often cloud our judgment and hinder open conversations. Perhaps, Moyo asking a clarifying question rather than shutting down completely could have saved the day.

Recognizing the value of open conversations, Fara and I made a pact to improve our communication skills by give people the benefit of the doubt and remove unnecessary communication barriers. We agreed that clearing the air of assumptions is the key to healthy communication, even if it means having difficult conversations. This commitment to open dialogue can lead to stronger relationships and harmony.

Unfortunately, many people prefer to avoid healthy conversations, opting for the pretence of not addressing issues. This poor communication habit leads to a buildup of grudges and contributes to the growing cancel culture. It's crucial to understand that the way we communicate or address conversations is contextual. We need to strive for a healthy communication culture where we seek to understand each other's perspectives and ask clarifying questions. We should normalize these approaches to foster healthier communication habits.

On a personal note, conversations with some people are almost impossible. In such cases where I hesitated to approach a conversation due to the fear of how they would respond, such as shouting or manipulating intent, as it has become habitual, I have chosen to distance myself to protect my peace. No one should fear having a conversation because of anticipated toxic reactions and antagonist responses, therefore, walking on egg shells especially around close friends and family.

Communication can indeed have barriers, but it can also be a bridge. It all depends on how we choose to approach it. Let's all foster healthy communication habits.

Here are a few points to help:

Listen with the intent to understand, not react.

Give the benefit of the doubt on the intention of the speaker.

Never assume intent without asking clarifying questions.

Reduce your tone! Shouting can be perceived as rude.

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