Think that because you’re coupled, you share an ESP-like ability to communicate? Not so, says a new study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Researchers sat both couples and strangers back to back and had them try to understand each other’s ambiguous phrases. All overestimated their ability to communicate, especially when they were paired with their partner. Some couples fared no better together than they did with strangers. ScienceDaily reports:
“Some couples may indeed be on the same wavelength, but maybe not as much as they think. You get rushed and preoccupied, and you stop taking the perspective of the other person, precisely because the two of you are so close,” said [researcher Kenneth Savitsky, professor of psychology at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass.].
So what does that mean for couples? Realize that he might be reading you wrong, no matter how long you’ve been together.
“Our problem in communicating with friends and spouses is that we have an illusion of insight. Getting close to someone appears to create the illusion of understanding more than actual understanding,” said co-author Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Next time you’re explaining how you feel about a sneaky new colleague of yours or telling him exactly how to fix the faucet, remember to give him all the details rather than assuming he knows what you mean.