I spend endless hours teaching people how to communicate effectively. It is amazing how easy it is to fall into poor habits. Many people struggle with even realizing they are trapped in a bad communication habit.
Here are 3 common communication patterns people get stuck in:
- Truth– Telling the truth is good to do when communicating, but believing that your stance is the only truth can be a problem. When you insist that you are “right” and the other person is “wrong”, it prevents others from having opinions and feelings separate from you. This causes conversations to not feel safe to be open and honest. Instead keep an open mind that it’s ok that others can be and will think differently from you. Life would be boring if we were all clones of each other!
- Blame- People are human and do make mistakes, but saying a problem is someones fault can break down the communication. Blaming someone can feel attacking and cause them to get defensive. They will instantly stop hearing what you have to say. Instead, ask them for what you need to be different from them if a situation like this comes up again.
- Martyrdom- When someone claims to be a victim, they are blaming everyone else for their reality. Yes, things happen in our lives that are outside of our control, but we do control how we react to things. Staying in a “poor me” mentality will only keep us stuck in the negative situation. Instead try to look at yourself to see if there is anything you can do different next time to prevent the situation. Anytime we feel like a victim, we likely played a part in allowing it to happen. Assessing this can help you learn from the situation and be proactive for next time.
Have any of these been part of your communication patterns? Take a step back and see if you catch yourself in any of these. Healthy communication habits start with awareness and making change one step at a time!