Roadblocks to Communication

The following are the ways we’ve all been taught to communicate, and they just don’t work. It’s so frustrating – you think you’re trying to help, and it’s just not working.

Most of the following fall into two general categories:

• Listening through thick filters, such as fixing, criticizing, rebutting, being right

• Making it all about you, rather than the speaker: getting approval, controlling, getting your needs met first (hey, what about me!?)

It’s all about wanting to fix things, or to reduce our own emotional discomfort, or make it about us, or the educate the other person, or react to being triggered ourselves.

Let’s have a look at some of what we do that doesn’t work.

Ordering, Directing: “Stop feeling sorry for yourself…”

Warning, Threatening: “You’ll never make friends if…” “You’d better stop worrying so much or…”

Moralizing, Preaching: “Life is not a bowl of cherries…” “You shouldn’t feel that way…” “Patience is a virtue you should learn…”

Advising, Giving Solutions: “What I would do is…”, “Why don’t you…” “Let me suggest…”

Persuading with Logic, Arguing: “Here is why you are wrong…” “The facts are…” “Yes, but…”

Judging, Criticizing, Blaming: “You are not thinking maturely…” “You are just lazy…” “Maybe you started the fight first…”

Praising, Agreeing, Colluding: “Well, I think you’re doing a great job!” “You’re right!–that teacher sounds awful.”

Name-calling, Ridiculing, Trivializing: “Crybaby–“, “That’s stupid to worry about one low test grade.”

Analyzing, Diagnosing: “What’s wrong with you is…” “You’re just tired.” “What you really mean is…”

Reassuring, Sympathizing: “Don’t worry.” “You’ll feel better.” “Oh, cheer up!”

Questioning, Probing: “Why…” “Who…?” “What did you…?” “How…?”

Diverting, Sarcasm, Withdrawal: “Let’s talk about pleasant things…” “Why don’t you try running the world!?” Remaining silent, turning away

Story telling: “That’s nothing, there was this one time … “ or “That reminds me of the other day, … “

Shutting down – “Cheer up, it’s not so bad”

NOTE: We ALL do these ALL the time – we’ve had a 10,000 year history of domination culture – so don’t feel BAD about it, just noticed it, and notice if it works for you or not!!