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 communication mistakes.
We all make mistakes, 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.
Don’t take anything personally, is one of the agreements in the bestselling book – The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Related content –
- 5 Ways to Stop Taking Things Personally
- 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.
Related post – 3 Common Mistakes You Might Be Making That Can Mess With Your Life
An excellent book for working out exactly what’s important to you and what’s not worth worrying about is – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. It goes without saying this book contains swearing, so if that bothers you I would probably give it a miss. If you’re fine with a bit of swearing, I highly recommend this book. It helped me a lot. I bought a Kindle version, then started re-reading parts of the book so much, I bought a copy of the paperback version as well. Come to think of it, I bought 2 and gave one to a friend.
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.
Related communication posts –
- Want to Have Better Conversations? Stop Doing This One Thing
- 12 Best Books on Having Better Conversations
- How to Communicate with Someone When They Are Feeling Vulnerable
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 feel like talking to the person face to face or over the phone. Taking our emotional state into account, why send a text at all?
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
Communicating effectively is an important key to our happiness and wellbeing. Don’t let these 5 communication mistakes ruin your relationships.
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Those are some great tips, Thea. I have to admit that I am guilty of arguing via text messages and it has always ended in a disaster.
I would say that one of the most important things to keep in mind is not to react when you are emotionally charged. It is difficult, but it’s mostly only damaging for relationships.
Lovely to see you here again 🙂
So true on the not reacting when you are emotionally charged. It really helps to calm down a bit first. Of course in the heat of the moment, we sometimes forget all about that and usually have to pay for it later.
As much as I am attached to my laptop, I am not like that with my mobile phone which can be a blessing in disguise. I text only when I really have to and I don’t ring people that much with it either, which helps with keeping myself calm after a disagreement or making sure I don’t make a call if I have had one wine too many. Also never a good idea! I have seen a lot of people get into trouble with that one.
Thanks again for commenting, it is always wonderful to see you here.
Some great points. I know I need to follow number one’s advice, but it can be hard sometimes.
Another good reason not to argue via text is because things can so easily be misconstrued. Before I went on maternity leave, the guy who would be taking over my store received a text from one of my long time staff members about not being able to work a last minute shift. I watched the whole thing unfold with the manager-to-be misreading the staff members text and thinking it rude and writing a threatening text back and the staff member not liking the threats (understandably). Eventually I had to step in and work it all out, 36 weeks pregnant and mediating between two very agitated guys twice my size. Just what I and my water retaining tree trunks of legs wanted.
That really taught me how dangerous texting is, because you can’t hear tone like in person, so sarcasm can be read seriously and a joke not followed by a ‘lol’ might be misunderstood.
Lovely to have you here on the blog. Thank you so much for leaving a comment.
You are so right about text messages being misconstrued! it is one of the main reasons I don’t like using them. You poor thing, your mediating didn’t sound at all fun. I hope it all got sorted out in the end. Definitely extra points for doing all of that while 36 weeks pregnant. You are right sarcasm doesn’t translate at all well on text. Even a lot of jokes miss the mark if the person receiving them takes them personally. Tone really does make a big difference to the way people interpret things.
I popped over to your site quickly and discovered you live in Brisbane. That is where I am as well. Noticed your blog is quite new. Is this your first one?
I will have to head over and read more. In the meantime good luck with your fiction writing.
Again thanks for the comment and lovely to meet you. 🙂
Yes, I am a Brisbanite and my blog is shiny new. Thanks for having a look at it. I did breifly write a blog on wordpress a few years back but I did it with the intent of forcing myself to write in it everyday which was a foolish goal and I stopped after only a few weeks. Now I’m a bit more realistic in my goals and serious in what I plan to do, that makes it more fun and less of a chore.
It’s great to meet you too and I look forward to reading more of your posts.
Don’t worry I started out with the goal of writing every day as well. 🙂
I think somewhere we must have read that bloggers need to post daily but realised quickly that isn’t the best plan of attack for everyone. Good on you for giving it another go!
I look forward to reading your posts as well.