Communicating with others is always difficult when it involves language. I often wonder that if the human race had not developed language, where we would be as a species? Language is very useful but can also lead to so much misunderstanding. Although we live in France, my French is still very poor and I sometimes find it frustrating that I cannot understand others or make myself understood. However, there are some upsides to this. Not speaking the language very well has made me pay more attention to what people say, how they say it and made me observe their body language more. I can then pay more attention to what I say, how I say it and what I say with my body too.
Gestures, particularly hand movements are fascinating to watch and openness is often shown by how people sit or stand, and their facial expressions. Other situational things (sights, sounds, smells) and objects can also influence someone's perception such as the positioning and colour of furniture in an unusually lit or shaped room. It's useful to think about all those things when you meet someone. The most likely influence on communication is people's previous experience of a similar situation.
We meet a new situation or person and believe we have met this before and we know how to deal with it. Without really listening, observing or treating this new situation with compassion, we interupt people and tell them what they "should do". Alternatively, we ignore what they actually say and tell them about a very similar experience we had and what we did. Responding in this way we are trying to be genuinely helpful but usually failing to provide the support they usually seek. They often want us to simply listen compassionately to them and acknowledge their feelings at this moment. When they feel they have been understood they are often then prepared to face the choices which will move them on to their next stage of development. In a similar way, if we want to grow and help ourselves we can acknowledge our own feelings and make our own choices. What do you think?