Warning Signs Of A Communication Breakdown

Communication breakdown is rampant.

From our political discourse, to our workplace challenges to our family dynamics.

Less and less are we listening and communicating in a way that deepens understanding.

Many of us realize this, yet feel helpless to change it.

Change, however, starts with ourselves and attempting to identify how WE are contributing to the problem. Pointing fingers will not solve it.

So I’ve attempted to put together a partial list of clues we can use to let us know when we’re contributing to communication breakdown.

If you find yourself doing any of the following, you can assume that you are part of the problem, not the solution:

Signs Of Communication Breakdown

Needing To Be Right

From the time we’re young, our educational system is rooted in a system of right and wrong. As we become adults we believe that being right affirms and inflates our sense of self-worth.

The fact that we’d choose to win an argument at the cost of damaging our relationships points to something terribly wrong.

Diagnosing Others

When you know what’s wrong with someone else, or how they messed up, keep it to yourself.

Remember, “constructive criticism” is often heard as “you suck, and here’s why.”

Defending A Position

Once you start to defend your position, that is a clue that something emotional within you has been triggered.

Use this opportunity to learn about your own motivations instead of trying to explain to someone else why you’re right.

Judging and Blaming Others

Judging and blaming become habits.

We make judgments about people, politics, movies, the weather. Some judge themselves even more harshly.

We blame others for the problems that surround us.

This is a huge conversation which I can’t cover in one paragraph. Safe to say, when you’re judging or blaming, either yourself or others, it is masking an emotional reaction, and contributing to poor communication.

Focusing On Punishing Others or Wanting Them To Feel Guilt Or Shame

This is hostile behavior. Hopefully, you can catch yourself if/when you’re doing this.

This always results in communication breakdown.

When communication breaks down, there is little opportunity for true connection. This obviously leads to misunderstandings and the inability to solve problems together.

If we can take responsibility for our own behavior and our own role in communication breakdowns, we can move toward solving it.