We all make communication mistakes or have awkward moments that we wish we could redo differently. Unfortunately we can’t go back and change the past, but we can prepare for the future. Many people realize that their communication is not how it should be, but they can’t exactly pinpoint the problem; maybe this list can help you. Keep reading for 7 communication mistakes to avoid in the future.
1. Assuming Your Mind Can Be Read
One of the biggest communication mistakes is assuming or hoping the person can guess what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling. When you have those expectations, you’re almost always disappointed, because people aren’t mind readers. If you want someone to know how you feel, you have to respectfully tell them.
If you’ve ever said, “you always…” or “you never…” you’ve definitely made a communication mistake. Blaming immediately puts the other person in defensive mode. Even if you aren’t intending to attack that person, they can’t help but to feel attacked and communicate as such. If you want your voice to be heard, avoid “you” messages, and use “I” messages. Explain your feelings, not what you think the other person is doing wrong.
3. Always Listening and Never Talking
Another communication mistake to avoid is never talking or giving feedback. Who wants to feel like they’re talking to a mannequin? If you don’t ever contribute to the conversation, the relationship will seriously suffer. You’re likely to feel unheard, and the other person may feel like the conversation and friendship are one-sided. Speak up and give feedback; it’ll greatly improve your communication.
4. Being Sarcastic
This one is tricky. Sarcasm can be fun and playful if used at the right time and with the right people. When having a serious or tense conversation, sarcasm is not okay. Many people can get quite offended by it, so be careful. If you happen to use sarcasm, and you can tell the person is offended, apologize and move on.
No one really likes to be called “lame” or “whack,” so try not to resort to that when you’re casually conversing. It’s common for friends to tease each other, but be aware when they aren’t in the mood. So many avoidable arguments occur among friends because of a little “harmless” name-calling.
6. Always Wanting Your Way
It’s natural for some people to want things done their way, but it becomes a problem when the person cares more about getting their way than the person with whom they’re communicating. Be respectful and courteous, and ask yourself, “does it really have to be MY way this time?” Sometimes that answer will be “no.”
7. Always Giving in to the Other Person
Another communication mistake to avoid is giving in to every and anything the other person wants. Stand up for yourself and your ideas. In an attempt to be nice, many people make the mistake of being a pushover or easily manipulated. Have self-respect and be confident. Don’t let others push you around. You have something to offer in your relationships, and it’s important to understand that, and communicate with people who accept that and respect you.
All of these communication behaviors are either passive or aggressive, which can be deadly to communication. It’s important to avoid these behaviors and be assertive. Use “I” messages to explain your feelings, actively listen to the person, try to understand their feelings, be respectful, be willing to compromise, and show genuine interest in communicating with your communication partner. I hope this article was helpful, and you can now distinguish some of the major communication mistakes to avoid when talking with someone or sharing your feelings. Which communication mistakes have you seen or done? Share your experiences!
Pruitt, B. E., Crumpler, K. S., & Stith, D. (2001). Prentice Hall health: skills for wellness (3rd. ed.). Glenview, Ill.: Prentice Hall.