Common Communication Problems 32 Say What? Communication can be complicated. Just look at these examples: Table 5-1. Top 10 Rejection Lines Given by Women (and What They Actually Mean) Kiss-off Line 10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. I think of you as a brother. There's a slight difference in our ages. I'm not attracted to you in that way. My life is too complicated right now. I've got a boyfriend. I don't date men where I work. I'm concentrating on my career. I'm celibate. Let's be friends. It's not you, it's me. Meaning You remind me of that inbred banjo-playing geek in Deliverance. I don't want to date my dad. You are the ugliest dork I've ever laid eyes on. I don't want you spending the whole night, or else you may hear phone calls from all the other guys I'm seeing. My cat and a half gallon of Ben and Jerry's are better company than you. I wouldn't date you if you were in the same solar system, much less the same building. Even something as boring and unfulfilling as my job beats dating you. I've sworn off only men like you. I want you to stay around so I can tell you in excruciating detail about all the other men I like. It's that male perspective thing. It's you. Encores and Exits Gaps in communication are often bridged with fillers, words like Uh-huh and um . All these expressions have been traced back to the 1830s. Stuart Berg Flexner in I Hear America Talking has described huh?, uh-uh, and um as "among the most common 'words' heard in America...truly native earmarks of an American." Others are not quite so charitable toward these conversation fillers, calling them "Neanderthalese." One of the newest entries is y'know. Check Mate How good are you at communicating? Take this assessment to find out. (Put a check next to each answer that you think is correct.) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Communication is always meaningful. Communication is not always valuable. If people could only communicate openly with each other, the world would be a better place. Unfortunately, some problems can't be solved through communication. Miscommunication is the source of much of the world's misery. You are usually better off speaking more, because then you can get your meaning across more fully. It's the quality of communication that matters, not the quantity. Many communication problems stem from the idea that meaning comes entirely from words. Meaning is derived from nonverbal as well as verbal communication.