Now and again, you meet someone with whom you are on the same wavelength. Someone with whom everything goes smoothly and no explanation is required. I believe much of this vibe results from sharing the same sweet spot regarding your communication needs. Enough communication to understand each other, but little enough to leave the magic undisturbed. Communication is an almost philosophical concept. Too much makes everything mechanical. Too little leads to frustration. It is a fine line between having security and taking things for granted.
A teacher will often err on the side of caution. During a lecture, they will lower their talking speed to ensure everyone understands the subject matter. For me, this is counterproductive. If things don’t move along, my brain seizes the opportunity to do something else. At a slow pace, sufficient capacity remains for my brain to think up a shopping list or to-do list. The result is that my focus wanes, and I end up storing very little of the information offered during the lecture.
A teacher will often err on the side of caution. During a lecture, they will lower their talking speed to ensure everyone understands the subject matter. For me, this is counterproductive
I encountered a different form of over-communication in the ski lift last winter. A voice rang through a small black speaker every few minutes in several different languages, reminding passengers to wear a facemask. After a week of skiing, the monotonous female voice continued to ring in my head even when sleeping. After a while, it made me so annoyed I was tempted to tear the facemask off and initiate a conga-line.
An overload of communication is not only annoying, it can also be enjoyable. I am particularly fascinated by discussions between couples. Especially between elderly couples, who have probably discussed everything already. The past, their ideals, and their dreams for the future. What remains is small talk centring on the trivialities of everyday life. So they may suddenly find themselves discussing the neighbour’s new bike or the cows they spotted through the train window.
Not understanding each other occasionally is fine
More communication is not always better. Not understanding each other occasionally is fine, if it leads to more serenity. Or, in the words of the Flemish comedian Philippe Geubels: ‘The secret to a good relationship is communication. As little. Communication. As possible.
Oscar Delissen is a fourth-year student of Food Technology.