Masking Poor Communication
September 8, 2014
Most recently I had an issue with my mother regarding my sister temporarily staying at my place. Prior to my sister coming to the city I had explained to her that I did not have the room to accommodate her and my nephew so she would have to stay somewhere else, but I had no problem with her staying a few nights if she wanted to. My sister arranged for her and her son to stay with another sister. However, once she arrived there, she felt like her home was uninhabitable for her to stay; I agreed that she could stay over for a few days until she worked on other options.
In the meantime, she had already had her belongings coming from Tampa, Fl. Once my mother informed her that her things would be arriving the following day, she decided ...view middle of the document...
My mother yelled at me and accused me of being selfish and not wanting to help my sister. She completely misunderstood my point of view on the issue, and I felt that she was giving my sister a pass to be lazy and irresponsible. Throughout all the communication we had, my sister chose to hang up on both my mother and I when we tried to convince her that this was something she needed to handle. For a moment I thought my mother was on my side and understood me until she became frustrated and took her anger out on me. In the end, my sisters belonging were delivered and my aunt agreed that she could stay at her house and I did end of having to make all the necessary called and arrangements to have her things transported there. The delivery was to take place between 9am-12pm, the driver called at 11:30 am to say he would not be there until 2:00 which then turned into 5:00 p.m. which is what I wanted to avoid and not be a part of having to spent my entire Saturday afternoon dealing with it while my sister was in NY and mother in Texas.
In the future to avoid miscommunication I need to speak in softer tone and not sound so demanding. I think that my tone of voice may have set the tone for the animosity that was built between us. I assumed that my mother and sister would understand me and comply with my request. "People commonly believe that they communicate better with close friends than with strangers. That closeness can lead people to overestimate how well they communicate, a phenomenon we term the 'closeness-communication bias.” (Boaz Keysar) Communication with family and close friends tends to be more aggressive than with strangers and I need to be more aware that not everyone will be able to determine when I am or am not being aggressive, but also get my point across.
Close relationships sometimes mask poor communication. (2011, January). U.S. News & World Report, 1.