A recent study
at the University of Chicago found that sometimes we communicate better with strangers than friends and spouses. "People commonly believe that they communicate better with close friends than with strangers. That closeness can lead people to overestimate how well they communicate, a phenomenon we term the 'closeness-communication bias,'" said Boaz Keysar, a professor in psychology at the University of Chicago and a leading expert on communications.
Another research found that the spouses consistently overestimated their ability to communicate, and did so more with their partners than with strangers. When a wife says to her husband, 'it's getting hot in here,' as a hint for her husband to turn up the air conditioning, she may be surprised that he interprets her statement as a coy, amorous advance instead.