Steering Clear of the Dirty Dozen of Irritating Communication Patterns

OK – let’s be realistic. The Saying What Matters lady loves that! We’ve all been guilty of one or more of the patterns listed below. But rest assured – these irritating communication strategies rarely gain us any brownie points and they are often quite destructive. Get curious as you read this list and see where you might fit.

The Detour Taker

You begin to talk about the topic at hand and then a key word or idea suggests another topic and off you go on a new conversation tangent. Follow a logical pattern in conversation with others and avoid frequent and long detours.

The Complainer and the Doomsayer

Obvious – you complain about everything and everyone. You are the ultimate negative thinker. No matter what anyone says, you will find the cup half empty and go out of your way to point that out.  Be positive and emphasize what is good before what is bad.

The Moralist

You seem to think you have the inside track on right and wrong. You sprinkle the conversation with “you shoulds”, telling others what to do.  Avoid evaluation and judgement; see the world through the eyes of the other person.

The Inactive Responder

You may be listening but the other person would never know it from the lack of reaction you show. Respond with both verbal and nonverbal messages.

The Storyteller

Mention anything, and you have a story on hand that will make other people wish they had never started speaking to you in the first place. Talk about yourself in moderation.

The Interrogator

You missed your professional calling; you should have been a police officer or a lawyer. You seem to do nothing but ask questions. No sooner does a person answer one than you are dishing up another.  Ask questions in moderation – to secure needed information and not to get every detail imaginable.

The Egotist

The truth is, you are only interested in yourself. If the conversation doesn’t revolve around you, forget it.  Focus on the other person as an individual; listen as much as you speak and speak about the listener at least as much as you speak about yourself.

The Arguer

You listen only as long as necessary for you to take issue with what’s being said. Others barely have time to get their mouth open and begin speaking before you jump at them with an argument. Be supportive, and only argue when it is appropriate; focus arguments on issues and behaviours rather than on personalities.

The Thought Completer

You know exactly what everyone is going to stay before they get it out, so you say it for them.  Don’t interrupt; assume that the speaker wants to finish his or her own thoughts.

The Self-Discloser

The disclosures you make are often too personal, sometimes to a point that they make others feel uncomfortable. Disclose selectively, in ways appropriate to your relationship with the listener.

The Advisor

You assume that whenever anyone expresses a doubt or talks of a decision, he or she wants your advice. Avoid giving unsolicited advice and don’t assume that the expression of a problem is asking you to come up with a solution.

The Psychiatrist

You analyze everything other people say, offering psychological explanations clothed in psycho-babble. If people want to talk to a therapist they can go and do that. Be a friend, lover, or parent instead.

There you have it! The Dirty Dozen of Communication Patterns. See if you can catch yourself in the act. Awareness is the first step.

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About francisguenette

Writer, blogger and author of the Crater Lake Series.
This entry was posted in Communication, Communication skills, Counselling, Photography, Self Help, Teaching and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Steering Clear of the Dirty Dozen of Irritating Communication Patterns

  1. fabulous post! lots to think about and see where I tend to err 🙂 thanks!

    • You’re very welcome, Victoria. I enjoy this blog because the information is pretty straightforward and I think it will give people a few “aha” moments. Not to say that acting on any knowledge gained is easy – definitely not. But being aware is the first step.

      • for sure! I love how you explain that, Francis. That’s exactly what I’m hoping the book will do: help people have those aha moments: that they’re not alone, that different approaches are possible, that an approach they have never considered might work well for them. 🙂

  2. oldmainer says:

    Unfortunately, with few exceptions,you just described my president:)

  3. Guilty as charged… I’ll try to do better! 😉

  4. Pingback: stuff i like | It won't always be bad...

  5. Pingback: Back to Twitter–Tweet, Tweet « disappearinginplainsight

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