Raise your hand if you have never made a mistake communicating with another person.
It goes without saying that no one would have their hand up!
We all make mistakes from time to time, when it comes to dealing with people, be it on a personal or professional level.
By correcting some simple mistakes, our communication and consequently our lives could be a lot easier.
Here are five communication mistakes to watch out for that can ruin your relationships.
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1. Don’t take everything personally
Whether we like to admit it, sometimes we can be too sensitive.
It can be easy to take things personally. Usually, we take things more to heart when they are said by someone close to us – our family, friends or boss for example.
When we are feeling stressed and vulnerable, we tend to over-analyze what people say.
To make matters worse, it is often the negative comments we hang onto and obsess over.
If a comment or statement upsets you, take a deep breath. Look at the comment logically. Was it aimed at you personally or said in a general manner? A good chunk of the time, you will uncover that it was not aimed at you.
Let the comment flow over you. Release it instead of holding on.
Don’t take things personally, unless you know for a fact that they are personal.
Related content –
- 12 Best Books on Having Better Conversations
- Letting Go of What Happened (When you are still Dealing with the Consequences)
- How to Stop Obsessing
2. Don’t assume people are talking about you
I mentioned the problem with making assumptions in an earlier post. Generally, the only thing assumptions are good for is getting us into trouble.
Assuming people are talking about you, links to the first point. You get upset about something someone said, assuming they were talking about you. You start to worry. You get angry, anxious or sad. You worry some more.
Then you find out or realize it had nothing to do with you in the first place. Think about all of that wasted time and energy.
Let’s face it; life can be hard enough at times, don’t make it harder by jumping to conclusions.
3. Don’t resort to name calling or nastiness
Whether in a personal or professional setting, don’t resort to name calling and nastiness. This also applies when using social media.
It goes without saying that name calling in business can ruin your reputation and professional integrity.
It can also severely damage your personal relationships.
Nasty and cruel comments can NOT be taken back. You can apologize and express remorse, but sometimes the damage will be permanent.
4. Don’t be rude to people on the phone (no matter who they are)
I learned this the hard way recently. Normally I would not be rude to someone on the phone but the other day I was caught off guard.
I had a terrible couple of days which included finding out my Mum has a cancerous tumor. I was stressed and worried. The phone rang and I assumed (there it is again) it was a call center since I’d had six calls the day before.
I told the person I was busy and hung up.
As soon as I put the phone down, I felt sick.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been applying for part-time positions. When I hung up, I realized it wasn’t a call center at all. Most likely I had just been rude to a recruitment agency or one of the companies I applied for.
I lost a bit of sleep over that mistake. In turn, it taught me a valuable lesson. Never assume you know who is calling. Be polite and professional to everyone.
5. Don’t argue using text messages
How many of you have had a fight or argument using text?
I have seen couples have whole disagreements over a dozen or so back and forth text messages.
In the end, it gets so confusing, no one is really sure what the other person said.
They end up scrolling through screen after screen of information, totally losing sight of the main points of conversation and getting more angry and frustrated in the process.
When we are upset text messages might seem like a good way to communicate. After all, we don’t want to talk to the person face to face or over the phone. Taking our emotional state into account, why send a text in the first place?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to think clearly before we make contact of any kind?
Consider stepping away from the phone and thinking through your feelings. In particular, give yourself time to calm down if you are angry. Then once you are feeling more rational, contact the person and talk things through.
Related post – Texting is Not a Relationship
Don’t let these 5 communication mistakes ruin your relationships.
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