Are You Dangerously Close?

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(Telegraph) Your wife doesn’t understand you because you are too close, study suggests

If you feel like your spouse does not understand you, it may be because you are too close to them, claims new research.

Psychologists believe that when two people know each other too well they assume too much shared knowledge and their language becomes dangerously ambiguous. This “closeness communication bias” can lead to long term misunderstandings, rows and even relationship problems, they believe.

The research by University of Chicago and Williams College in Massachusetts found that often couples and good friends communicate with each other no better than they do with strangers. Sometimes they are clearer with strangers because they assume no common knowledge.

But in contrast to Oscar Wilde’s remark that “the proper basis for a marriage is mutual misunderstanding”, the phenomenon could cause problems.  “People commonly believe that they communicate better with close friends than with strangers,” said Prof Boaz Keysar, co-author.

“That closeness can lead people to overestimate how well they communicate. Your language can become so ambiguous. The brain becomes lazy. “But it can backfire and the misunderstanding can lead to rows in the future.”

(See the original article here)

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