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A Fatal Communication Mistake That Many Of Us Are Not Aware Of

A Fatal Communication Mistake That Many Of Us Are Not Aware Of

Good communication — sometimes, it’s the little things that make all the difference.

We all know that good communication is a bedrock of a successful relationship, whether it’s a positive parent-child bond, the first few days of a new friendship, or the start of a budding romance.

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You may think that you have the basics of good communication mastered — you listen, you share appropriately, you seek clarification on points you do not understand, you make sure that your body language fosters trust, and so forth. However, there are certain errors in communication that we may make on a regular basis without even knowing it. Taking your interpersonal connections to the next level entails becoming aware of such mistakes and taking care to avoid them.

The Danger Of Comparison

One of the most common communication pitfalls is our tendency to draw comparisons. In many situations, it is entirely appropriate to compare two or more items or situations. For instance, at work, you may describe a piece of software as being “harder to use” or “nicer to look at” than a previous version. This is fine. Such comparisons help other people. However, comparisons are not so harmless in personal relationships.

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Why? Simply put, when you make a comparison, you are making a judgement. An obvious example is the comparisons that parents sometimes make between children. We all know that hearing “Why can’t you be as smart/tidy/nice as your sister/brother?” is only going to damage a child’s self-esteem. However, it is important to watch out for so-called “good” comparisons too.

Whenever you make a judgement, someone usually comes out feeling like a loser, even if your intentions are positive. For instance, if you attempt to compliment someone by telling them that they look like a particular celebrity, you are implying that they are not an attractive person in their own right. Rather, they are only worthy of attention because they happen to resemble someone else. To take another example, let’s say that you are a piano teacher who tells one of their students, “Keep practicing, and one day you could be as good as my best student!” This may seem encouraging initially, but just as in the previous example, such a comparison detracts from the innate worth and value of whoever is subject to it.

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If You Want Someone To Change, Try A Different Strategy

Often, when we make comparisons, we secretly wish someone could or would be different. This is a losing battle because getting other people to change, especially if they do not want to change themselves, can be extremely difficult. Instead, it is often more fruitful to take one of the following two approaches.

First, the best tactic is to work on appreciating and accepting the other person for what and who they already are. This may be tricky at first, but keep reminding yourself of what you like about this person and what joy they bring to your life and you’ll be halfway there. It is better to praise and compliment someone based on who and what they are right now than to express, subtly or not, that they would be better if only they would change.

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The second strategy is to be a role model. For example, if you would like your friend to be more outgoing and to take the initiative when planning social outings, why not aim to develop these qualities in yourself? We tend to imitate those we respect, so if you have a strong relationship with someone, modelling positive behaviours can encourage positive change.

However you tackle the situation, remember to cut down on those comparisons!

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Jay Hill

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck

7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck

Relationships are complicated and when you’re unhappy, it can be difficult to tell what’s causing it and what needs to change.

Sometimes it’s as easy as opening up to your partner about your problems, while other times it may be necessary to switch partners or roll solo to get your mind straight.

When you’re in the thick of things, it can be difficult to tell if you’re unhappy in your relationship or just unhappy in general (in which case, a relationship may be just the cure you need).

Here’re signs of an unhappy relationship that is possibly making you feel stuck:

1. You’re depressed about your home life.

No matter what you do in life, you’re going to have good and bad days. Your relationship is no different.

However, no matter what you’re going through at home, you have to feel comfortable in your own home.

If you constantly dread going home because your significant other is there, there’s a problem. Maybe it’s something you already know about, everyone has an argument or just needs some alone time.

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When that yearning to be alone becomes an insatiable obsession over the course of months and years, it’s time to realize you’re not the exception to the rule.

You’re unhappy in your relationship, and you need to take a look in the mirror and do whatever it takes to make yourself smile.

2. You aren’t comfortable being yourself.

Remember all those things you discovered about yourself when you first got together? The way your partner made you feel when you met that made you fall in love with him or her in the first place.

If they don’t make you feel that way anymore, it’s not the end of the world. If your partner makes you uncomfortable about being you, then her or she is only dragging you down. It’s up to you to decide how to handle that.

You need to be comfortable with who you are. This means being comfortable in your skin and with the way you walk, talk, look, breath, move, and all the other things that make you uniquely you.

If the person who supposedly loves you doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, know that you can do better. They’re not even one in a billion.

3. You can’t stop snooping.

Mutual trust is necessary in any relationship. The only way to get that trust is with respect.

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I can find you anywhere online, no matter how private and secure you think you are. The odds of you having a password I can’t crack are slim. If we’ve met in person, I could install a remote key logger on your device without even touching it.

Finding your information online hardly takes a clandestine organization. Any idiot with a Wi-Fi-enabled device can cyberstalk you. I’m just the only idiot in the village admitting it.

So now that we know everyone snoops, it’s time to address your personal habits. Governments snoop because they don’t trust us. If you’re snooping on your partner, it’s because you don’t trust them.

It’s ok to have doubts, and it’s perfectly normal to look into anything that looks weird, but keep in mind that data collection is only half of an investigation.

If you find yourself constantly snooping and questioning everything, clearly there’s a trust issue and the relationship likely needs to end.

4. You’re afraid of commitment.

If you’ve been dating longer than a year and you aren’t engaged, it’s never going to happen.

Commitment is important. People will come up with a million ways to describe why they can’t be committed.

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No matter who you are if you like it, you need to put a ring on it. Find an engagement ring, stick a gemstone in it and marry the person. If you’re not legally able to get married or you don’t believe in it for one reason or another, have a child (or adopt one, however you’re able to) or treat your partner’s family like your own. It’s a huge financial and mental commitment.

If you’re not ready for one or the other after some time, don’t waste anymore of your precious life on the relationship.

Your relationship should be something that propels you forward. If it’s not going anywhere, make it an open relationship and call it what it is—dating multiple people.

5. You imagine a happier life without your partner.

If all you’re doing is imagining a happier life without your partner, it’s a sign that you’re in the wrong relationship. You’re unhappy and you need to get out.

Your partner should be included in your dreams. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a future with someone.

Try to remember what you dreamed of before you got your heart broken by the realities of life, love and the pursuit of human success.

Remember when you would crush on that cute kid in class? You would secretly imagine marrying him or her and going on an adventure—that’s the way life should be.

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If you’re not at least imagining adventures together, then why are you in that relationship?

6. You resent, rather than love your partner.

When a relationship starts to crumble, you begin to resent your partner for all the things you once loved about him or her.

When you’ve reached this point, your partner has reached at least No. 2 on this list. From your partner’s perspective, your unhappiness with them is picked up as bashing them for being who they are.

If you’re both unhappy in the relationship, it’s better if it ends as quickly and painlessly as possible.

7. You chase past feelings.

It’s okay to reminisce about the past, but if all you do is wish things were like they used to be, it’s a sign you’re not on the right path.

You’re unhappy and, at the very least, you need to have an open dialogue about it. This isn’t necessarily a sign that the relationship should end, but it definitely needs a spark.

When you talk to your partner candidly about what it is you’re looking for, you never know how they’ll react. The risk alone is worth it, good or bad.

Final thoughts

If you’re feeling stuck in your current relationship, it’s time to reflect about it with your partner. Don’t ignore these signs of an unhappy relationship as they will slowly go worse and harm both you and your partner in long-term.

Featured photo credit: josh peterson via unsplash.com

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