The strawman background theory of communication is that it’s used to convey information like a pipe is used to convey water. But if it’s not used that way, how is it used?
It’s used like a mat you put out for your dog. At first she doesn’t like it, but you put the mat in a spot she used to sit anyway and she develops an affection for it. It smells like her. It reminds her of what home is. Now, when you need her to be sitting somewhere else because there are guests over and she likes to sit awkwardly close to the table, you can simply move the mat and she’ll end-up sitting there.
That’s what a compliment is.
It’s used like the different nicknames lovers give each other. Some of them are sweet and some are angry and some evoke felt senses for which legibilized descriptions are unavailable. Much of the time when lovers use a name they aren’t aware of the what they’re evoking until it hangs in the air between them—and whether it falls flat, because communication and response is used as a tool of perception.
That’s what sending a friend a picture of you in a “ridiculous” outfit is.
It’s used like a supervisor asking “Do we need to talk about that?” to a subordinate he knows will never say yes for fear of imposing—creating the legibly plausible deniability to the world while communicating unwillingness to the subordinate.
That’s what clicking the checkbox that says: “I have read and agree to the license” on a new service is.