Three Ways to Communicate Badly

Posted on March 9, 2011


When we are in close relationship with others, the need for good communication is essential.  However, our ability to communicate poorly often gets in the way of closeness.  I say “this” and you hear “that.”  We end up with a “he said/she said” story that is confusing at best and often alienates us.  The tension that results from communicating badly results in avoidance of issues or big blow ups.

Criticize“I don’t like what you are doing and my way is better.”

It is easy to see what’s wrong with others.  We can identify those wrongs by the habits, mannerisms and attitudes that “bug” us.  By sharing those irritations with others, we are spreading our negativity and receive poor communication in return.  My way might be better than yours, but your way might be just as good as mine and we need the opportunity to explore our differences.

Try This: “I wonder if you are aware that you are missing the area under the counters when you sweep the floor.  Perhaps I can help next time and show you what I am seeing.”

Ignore “If I ignore what you are saying to me, I won’t have to deal with it.”

When we have something to say, it is important to us.  Our listener does not hear our words or thoughts with equal importance.  We often resort to behaviors such as whining, increasing our intensity, or withdrawing.  These are all forms of communication, but none are effective.  Unheard thoughts create a cool distance between us which eventually turns into a large abyss.

Try This: “I feel ignored when the TV stays on for several hours.  Often, I have things on my mind and want to share them with you.  I need to feel that part of the evening is available to share.”

Mind Reading – “I know what you are thinking.”

The reason that a Mind Reading 101 class is never offered at your local college or graduate school is that it can’t be done.  In close relationships, we know a lot about the other person and often have a pretty good idea about what they are thinking. Making assumptions based upon that knowledge creates the opportunity for misunderstandings between us.

Try This:  “Your idea sounds interesting.  Tell me more about what you are thinking.”

It works well to keep our statements open-ended. By speaking clearly and plainly, and staying away from Criticism, Ignoring, and Mind Reading, we are better prepared to communicate with an open heart. Our words will be better received, and we create an environment to be heard.

Written By: Cheryl Vance, LMFTA

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==