Are people less inclined to use intuition during communication?


Has anyone noticed a need to use more precise language to get some people to understand what you mean? I know that question is vague. I think I might have a hard time explaining what I mean. Are people less inclined to intuit the intention of words?

Also, it seems when this difficulty in communication arises, some people are getting angry extremely quick. The anger seems irrational to me.


Do you mean online communication, or face-to-face? Without the tone and cadence of voice, plus facial expression and posture, it is not easy to communicate. Mere words on a screen are often ambiguous, like an impressionistic painting, a Rorschach test, or a mirror.

More precise language may not be the answer. It only helps if the reader is receptive to it.

Could you elaborate on intuition?


Sometimes another person takes it as a personal attack on them if you don’t agree with their points of view. People seem to react with emotions more now than, lets say 10 years ago. It seems like their emotions are their person… “I feel like…” instead of “I know that…”


Sometimes, people will answer the question that’s asked, not what they think the questioner means. Then the ball is in the questioner’s court to be more precise, and to ask the right question to get the answer to the question that they want.


On the other hand, when we’re communicating in writing, we have the opportunity to go back and change a word here and there before we hit “send” if, on reflection, it looks as though we’ve written something that might give offense or might be misinterpreted. In speech we don’t have that option.


The whole “triggering” business is evidence of that, I think. How long has that been around? I began to notice it a year or two ago, but I suspect that in reality it probably goes back a bit further than that.


Yes I have noticed and it’s not really a surprise to me, I think language was developed to avoid intuition having to be used to communicate. Unless a person is gifted in some way the more important the message the more precise I think we need to be, preferable to verbosity I think.

If you get my drift :wink:


It’s actually based on trauma triggers. The use of “trigger warnings” seems to have originated among feminist bloggers a few years ago. While not a lot of research has been done on it, so far the warnings seem to be a mistake.


Thank you for those two links. Whoever wrote the Wikipedia article seems to have summed up the problem very neatly in a single sentence:

Scientists with knowledge in this area and research on the topic suggest that trigger warnings may be counterproductive and actually increase anxiety and PTSD symptoms.


Sometimes I want to talk about something but I don’t have it clearly in my mind. In those cases, I am really looking for collaboration. Sometimes it hard to describe an idea. I really need someone to try to understand and help me grasp and comprehend instead of looking for a way to refute me before my idea is even laid out.

I think “heated debate” bordering on trying to win an argument is an approach that is “drilled in” for a lot of people. So when I am trying to grasp at something, instead of collaboration, I talking to “an opponent”. In the past, even very recently, I was more prone to this approach to conversation. Make my “points”. So, I wonder if sometimes, unless you lay it out very precisely, people see the incompleteness of the idea as a way to refute it and are not actually very helpful.

These days, I am getting more and more inclined to just learning and exploring ideas. When I get to that point where I am going to attack the intelligence or character of someone for something they wrote, if I do it, even if it seems valid, I don’t walk away with a good feeling about it.

I need a better tact for conversation, especially online conversation. Less argumentative, more exploratory. More patient for mistakes instead of being inclined to point out inconsistencies, logic errors, or things in the nature of a mistake for gaining advantage. I think so many people are trying to point out something dumb and sound like an expert it actually obstructs progress. I think that idea that there is an audience to be swayed or convinced is a factor.

Just thoughts. I make no claim that I have not been a part of this problem.


I will speak only to what I see among native English speakers in the US.

We seem to be well along a path of losing our understanding of the metaphorical aspects of our language.

For example, Trump called members of the MS13 gang animals, and people were mad at him for calling humans animals, which the critics believe is dehumanizing. All this despite the fact that the MS13 gang members have perpetrated acts so abhorrent that it is actually insulting to animals to call those gang members that.

Analogies are another victim in this literalism mode. Use an analogy and the other person will be able only to point out the failures of the analogy. Use a bicycle as an analogy for a car, and the person will not look at your point, but only complain about the fact that they have differing numbers of wheels and motive powers.

So often everything is taken literally, and this makes it difficult to have a conversation in what used to be considered normal English.

And then those same people say something like, “My head literally exploded”… :rolleyes:


It’s how we are built. Emotions kick in first then a logical appraisal follows. Sometimes how we appraise something is subconsciously edited to align with our emotional reaction.

It’s ever been thus. It’s an evolutionary process. You duck first then wonder if the guy was going to hit you. Those who think first quite often get smacked in the mouth.


There are also more people on the Autism spectrum today. They have a harder time with imprecise speech.
Or people that English is not their first language.


I also think it depends on the personalities and temperament. Im more of a humanist temperament but in college I majored in a rational science. Some of the physics/chem people were almost cold in their rationality and could say things that were actually pretty rude and really socially difficult. Once you got to know them a bit better you figured out they didn’t mean anything bad by it necessarily. Some of the things which came out of the mouths of a few of my physics professors were rationally accurate, but socially could be completely out of context. From their perspective they probably viewed the English/psych majors as overly emotional. The English/psych majors probably viewed them as cold and perhaps insensitive, or just critical… Just different wavelengths. I’m only speaking about the relatively mature people, there are those who are just problematic but that’s something else.


I think these are really good points in this post. Written communication often comes off as abrupt and harsher than verbal. Without vocal inflections it can be almost concrete, which misses meaning in many cases. I also agree that people can sometimes want to “win” an argument, or assert their opinion or position, rather than investigate the truth. Personally I’ve found this particularly challenging when seeking council for a problem, or trying to get advice or perspective from others. I think many of us are carrying more woundedness than we are even aware of.


I find that we intuit meaning with people we know extremely well.

It’s unreasonable to expect strangers and casual acquaintances to intuit what you are thinking when you don’t express it clearly.

If people are getting angry with you, then the onus is on you to more clearly communicate.


Thanks Theo. I do try. Seems harder than normal sometimes, is all. I am over it now though. I think this was just a rant.


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