While we tend to think that knowing someone better makes our communication better, it really just tends to make it more comfortable. Approaching your communication with others as though you were talking to a stranger might actually improve it.
Dr Samantha Smithstein, writing for Psychology Today, suggests that the key to better communication is pretending your spouse is a stranger, but this could very well apply to many different forms of communication. We have a tendency to let familiarity alter our communication because we have expectations of what the other person is going to say. Once you start to feel you know a person, you feel you can often predict their behaviour. As we’ve noted, humans are terrible at predicting the future so it stands to reason that when you try to predict what someone is going to say you are, at the very least, limiting the possibilities. Looking at people you know as strangers — whether they’re your spouse, a friend or a coworker — isn’t something you want to follow literally, but approaching communication with the people in your life without assumption could make for more interesting, fruitful conversations.
The key to good communication? Pretend your spouse is a stranger | Psychology Today