Being able to communicate is foundational skill for anyone that wants to have healthy relationships, romantic, professional, friendly, or otherwise. But unfortunately, communication is a double-edged sword. You can either use it to build wonderful relationships, or you can use it destroy them.
It all depends on how use your communication. Below are few common mistakes that people make when communicating with others. I’m not perfect. I’ve made some of these mistakes myself on multiple occasions.
But once you realize that you’re heading down that road, pause, course correct, and get yourself headed in a better direction. But it all starts with knowing that you’re making the mistake.
Mistake 1 – Dismissing the Words of the Other Person
Think about how frustrating this is when it happens to you. You’re trying to talk to someone and you can tell that everything you’re saying is going in one ear and out the other. It’s upsetting, it makes you feel disrespected, and it can put a dead stop to meaningful communication.
Even if you feel that you may know a little more, or be a little more skilled than the other person, never dismiss what he or she is saying. You never know, they may have some valuable input that you never would have thought of.
Mistake 2 – Becoming Silent and Refusing to Discuss an Important Issue
I’ve been here before, on both sides. Sometimes we get so frustrated and upset about something that we don’t even want to deal with it, ever. But going silent and not dealing with it, only makes the problem bigger and even harder to handle. You can’t sweep everything under the rug, or you’ll eventually have a mountain under there.
It’s okay to say, “I don’t want to talk about it right now”. Just pick it up back up in a couple of hours or even the next day if you need to. But to say that you never want to deal with or it, or to continually put off fixing the issue, you’re almost guaranteeing yourself some major problems.
Mistake 3 – Telling the Other Person What His Real Motivation is Behind His Words or Actions
This one is especially dangerous. I know you and I both are probably prone to making assumptions here and there, but the problem is that we usually assume for the worst. So we automatically believe that our friend, colleague, or significant other had the worst intentions. And then our reaction is based on those negative assumptions that we made. Can you see how this is a recipe for disaster?
We’re getting upset at someone based on our own thoughts! Based on our own imagination.
Mistake 4 – Telling Someone That if They Love You, They’ll Do What You Say
This is probably much bigger than just a communication problem, but if you’re using love as a guilt mechanism, you’re bound to have some problems in communication, and life in general. Just because someone loves you, doesn’t mean that he or she is a slave to what you want in life.
Mistake 5 – Never Apologizing or Admitting to Making a Mistake
I’m not always right, and I’m not always wrong either. But when I realize that I am wrong, I admit it. It’s so hard to talk with people who always think they’re right. Even when the truth is staring them in the face, they refuse to admit they were wrong or apologize.
Sometimes, all someone needs to hear is “I’m sorry”, and a lot of problems would be solved. But when you refuse to do so and hold onto your pride, communication starts to break down.
Mistake 6 – Criticizing People With Words Like “Always” and “Never”
It’s very rare that anyone always or never does something. But when you use definitive words like always and never, you’re more likely to offend and hurt feelings.
You’d be better off saying, “I’ve noticed lately that you haven’t been doing X.” Or you could say, “There are certain times when you do X and it really upsets me when you do.”
That little change in vocabulary could have a big impact on your ability to communicate with others.
So how does this affect your professional life? Just know that every interaction you have with someone, every time you communicate with someone, you are affecting the relationship you have with that person. So you have to ask yourself, are you communicating in a way that’s building that relationship up, or breaking it down?
Tony J. Robinson is the founder of DoReallyGood.com, which is the place where to go for the information and inspiration necessary to take your life’s most important goals and make them a reality. You can pick up a copy of his free eBook, “8 Killer Resources to Streamline Your Personal Development” here.
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