It’s Not Only People Who Communicate

When your cat sits in the doorway, glaring at you until you feed him, you know he’s communicating.


We talk a lot, and sometimes we get trapped into imagining this to be our main way of sending each other messages.

But we only convey about 20 percent of our meaning verbally, especially when we’re sending emotional messages.

Body Language
When we want to tell people we’re angry, or tired, or we just wish they’d go away and leave us alone, we can do it through folding our arms, leaning away, looking at the floor, sighing, and raising our eyebrows.

Have you ever been driven to despair by  your kids, or even your partner, not because of what they say, but because of the WAY they say it?   

We use our face muscles, our heads, our bodies, our arms and legs to tell people what we think.

Even when we resort to words, we use volume, pitch, rhythm and tune to make the meaning clear.
It’s perfectly possible to say “Yes” and at the same time make it clear you mean “No.”
Animal Communication
We need to stop imagining that the only sorts of communication in existence are words. Then, we might take a bit more time to understand animals – and our own kids.

The rest of the world is more like humans than you might think.

Plants have friends. Yes, chillis like to be close to their mates, basil. They grow better even when they can’t see each other.

Chimps have up to 30 different calls. They also stamp and throw rocks. They even grin when they’re nervous, like humans do.

Dogs yawn and seem to use this to diffuse tension. They wag their tails, yelp, whine, sniff, move their ears around and raise the hair on their backs. We can’t manage half of that.

Even fish communicate: the oyster toadfish calls out when he wants to mate.

Dolphins have had a bad press recently, according to the Dolphin CommunicationProject. After years of hero worship, it turns out pigs and chickens can do many of the things dolphins can –including making friends and living socially. Because we picked up on some of their communication, we thought they were clever.

By clever, of course, we mean, like us.

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