All relationships require strong communication skills to survive and thrive. The way we speak to those around us can either make or break a relationship. The same goes for our ability to listen when we’re being spoken to and take in what people are trying to tell us.
There is no better time than now to step up or improve our communication game. We live in a world where communicating with someone half the world away is right at our fingertips. I think it’s fair to say that we can all use a little extra help when it comes to speaking to each other. Like any other skill, communicating effectively is something that can be learned and perfected.
Nobody is perfect so don’t feel bad if you’re not the best when it comes to expressing yourself and your feelings. As I mentioned above, the way we speak someone can affect the quality of our relationship with them. It can either strengthen the trust and respect we have for each other, or it can drive us further apart by creating conflict and uncertainty.
Take a moment to sit back and think about the way that you speak to those around you. Think about your interactions with family members, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, friends of friends, and even strangers. Are you communicating as strongly as you can or could your communication skills use a little work?
Acknowledging our communication shortcomings is the first step to improving the quality of the conversations we have with others. In this article, I’m discussing the top five communication barriers and how we can address them.
Expressing our feelings can be a really difficult thing to do. This usually has to do with the amount of vulnerability involved in admitting how we really feel and in sharing our most private thoughts. Expressing our feelings also comes with the danger of being rejected, misunderstood, or disagreed with.
Saying what’s in our heart can be very scary but it’s something that we need to do. If we don’t share how we’re feeling about something calmly and willingly, it’s bound to come out at a less-than-pleasant time.
We aren’t made to hold things in for too long. Our bodies have a way of expelling the negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions that have we’ve been trying so hard to keep inside. It’s usually when we least expect it and more often than not, it’s in the worst possible way.
Once it gets to the point where we explode, we’re in primal mode and are usually feeling angry or frustrated. What follows is hardly ever respectful, kind, or civil. It’s also really hard for people to understand us or where we’re coming from when we’re in that state.
Don’t let your feelings get the best of you by bottling them up. It’s important to remember that your opinions and emotions are just as important as anyone else’s. Make it a point to start expressing your thoughts and feelings in the moment.
There is a wonderful feeling that comes with voicing your truth. It creates a certain level of intimacy between you and those around you because they see that you trust them enough to share your personal thoughts with them.
Tiptoeing Around What We Want To Say
Being direct with what we want to say during a conversation is an important part of communicating effectively. Dropping hints, beating around the bush, and speaking in a passive voice isn’t fair to us or the person we’re speaking to. That’s because doing those things takes away the other person’s chance to truly comprehend what we’re trying to tell them.
Speaking vaguely and refraining from saying what we really mean creates confusion. When we tiptoe around what we want the other person to know, we make it the other persons mission to guess what it is we’re trying to get at. Making the other person work for what we want them to know isn’t okay.
Being bold, honest, and authentic makes our intentions and expectations crystal clear to them. Once we let them know directly what it is we’re needing from them, they can then choose to listen to us or not. That’s completely their choice but at least we know we were as straightforward and sincere as possible.
Communicating this way creates respect in the relationship because we are saying what we mean and meaning what we say. We’re making our needs and desires be known clearly and not making things more complicated for the other person.
Assuming We Know What People Are Thinking
We have an interesting way of assuming we know what people are thinking. Our brains come up with crazy scenarios or reasons for things that we don’t understand. It’s easy to assume we already know what someone is feeling, thinking, or about to say.
This is a huge communication barrier because it takes away the other person’s right to express themselves to us. Once we assume we know somebody’s reason for doing something, we’re less likely to actually ask them about it. We just avoid the subject and convince ourselves that what we’re thinking is true.
Our negative assumptions can alter our relationship with that person and they’ll never even know why! We might start acting cold or distant towards them because we believe the worst case scenario that we’ve invented in our minds.
If you do this then it’s a habit you need to break so that you don’t allow your imagination to run wild. Unless you’re gifted with psychic or clairvoyant abilities, chances are you have no idea what others are thinking.
You need to stop yourself the next time that little voice inside your head starts speaking for other people. This often happens in situations where you’re confused and don’t understand what’s going on.
For example, you texted your partner but it’s been hours and they haven’t responded. Or say one of your coworkers made a confusing comment after your presentation. In cases like this, your brain might begin to tell you that your partner didn’t respond because they’re tired of you and are going to break up with you, or that your coworker thought your presentation was really bad.
When you feel yourself making your own excuses for things, you need to stop, take some deep breaths, and clear your mind. It’s important to remind yourself that you don’t know what the other person was thinking and that you can’t control how they feel about you. You can only control your own thoughts and feelings.
You have to give others the benefit of the doubt before assuming the worst. If you really need to know why the other person did or said what they did then you need to just ask them! You should be calm and direct with them and just let them know that you’d appreciate some clarification on whatever they did or said.
When we give people the opportunity to be straight with us we learn a lot of things. Our assumptions might be right, but at least we know for sure instead of just thinking it. Don’t forget that more often than not, what people say and do has more to do with themselves and less to do with us.
Everyone’s fighting their own battles and we’re not the only thought on someone’s mind.
Playing The Blame Game
It’s so easy to attack or berate someone who we feel hurt us or who we’ve had an argument with. We might sit there and stew on what the other person did to make us feel angry or upset and that gets us all riled up. The more we think about it, the angrier we get and when we can’t take it anymore we explode.
We lash out at them and stop listening to reason. We tend to always blame other people for making us feel bad. If you’re guilty of this then you need to start owning your feelings and holding yourself accountable for your own feelings.
People have their own right to say or do whatever they feel they need to say to you, there’s nothing you can do about that. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to react to it.
If your best friend tells you that you’ve been a bad friend because you never spend time with her anymore, try your best not to focus on how that makes you feel. Don’t work yourself up into a frenzy wondering how they can think that about you.
Instead, try to look at it from her point of view. Instead of thinking “she shouldn’t have talked to me like that!” think, “She’s hurt because I haven’t been making time to hang out with her.” You need to put yourself in people’s shoes instead of automatically blaming them.
There are no winners in the blame game so we must be the bigger person and look beyond ourselves and our emotions. It’s better to let people know that while we didn’t like how we were spoken to, we thought about it and we understand why they feel that way instead of getting mad at them.
Only Thinking About Ourselves
Being the bigger person during a heated conversation can be really difficult. It’s easy to tune the other person out and keep interrupting them to say what we want to say. This is another barrier when it comes to communicating effectively.
It may be hard at first but next time you find yourself in a difficult conversation, slow your thoughts down. Take some deep breaths, relax, and give all your attention to what the other person is saying instead of thinking of something snarky or hurtful to say.
Don’t keep trying to get the next word in while they’re trying to tell you something. Focus on that person and force yourself to be in the moment with them. You’ll be amazed at how much of a connection we can make with someone who we thought was against us.
When we actually listen to them we can understand where they’re coming from. This allows us to see things from their point of view and respond from a place of understanding instead of a place of anger. When we put the other person first, our responses are calmer and more thoughtful, which makes the other person feel validated and heard.
When people feel this way, they’re more likely to do the same for us when we’re expressing our feelings to them. This style of communication makes our conversations more genuine and meaningful, which leads to stronger bonds. I know that being open and honest about our feelings can be really hard.
This is especially true when telling the truth reveals our personal insecurities or flaws. Overcoming our fear of vulnerability during conversations creates a stronger connection in our relationships and is so worth it. Those around us will notice how sincere and genuine we are and this will lead to a more fulfilling relationship between us and them.
If you find that you can’t be vulnerable with those you love no matter how much you’ve tried , it could be that you’ve subconsciously buried that part of yourself deep down inside. It’s common to build walls up around yourself in an effort to protect yourself.
However, this only works to alienate and isolate yourself because you need a certain level of vulnerability to make and keep authentic relationships. A talented psychic can help you recognize and break down the barriers that you have built for yourself and that have been keeping people out. If you need help freeing yourself, click the box below for my favorite psychic websites online!