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Don’t Let These 4 Habits Ruin Your Conversations

Don’t Let These 4 Habits Ruin Your Conversations
Bad Habits Can Ruin Conversations
    Bad Habits Can Ruin Conversations

    Why didn’t he call me back?  Why didn’t she laugh at my joke?  Why don’t they want to hang out again?

    Do you ever get the feeling that maybe something you did or said sabotaged your conversation (or worse, your relationship!?).

    In a perfect world, we could all take the Conversation Skills Assessment Aggregator 2000 and it would spit out a printed analysis of our entire communication profile.  It would detail our every strength and weakness, our every good and bad habit, and even our conversation style.  Maybe it would even make polite suggestions for you in a British accent.

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    Luckily, you have a good friend who always advises you on your conversation habits.  Oh, you don’t?  Neither do I.  If we are making a conversation mistake, most of us will never find out.  People will just choose not to talk to us as much.  You may not think anything of it.

    You may not have a friend or a machine that can politely make suggestions, but there are very common conversation mistakes you can look out for. With a little self reflection and self awareness, you can at least ensure that you are not damaging your conversations and relationships any further.

    Let’s look more closely at four of the bad habits:

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    1. Are You a Parrot?

    Do you find yourself just paraphrasing or repeating what the other person said?  If they say, “that was a cool movie!” do you say, “Yeah, that was a really cool movie!”?  Parrots act like they are having a conversation, but in reality, they rarely actually offer anything substantive.  Parrots rely on echoing and paraphrasing others.

    Suggestion:  If you find yourself just echoing what they are saying, try to offer substantive opinions or observations as well.

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    2. Are You an Energy Vampire?

    You may have fascinating stories and opinions to share, but if your energy cannot support the comments, people may find you hard to listen to.  Lacking energy or emotion when you talk can ruin your conversation faster than almost any other bad habit.   Good conversation is alive; good conversation flows with energy between the conversationalists.   If you are not adding to the flow of energy, then you are probably subtracting from it.

    Suggestions:  Think of your voice as a roller coaster ride for your listeners.  Are you creating a flat, boring ride?  Try to make your roller coaster ride enjoyable for your particular audience; add some vocal drops, some inclines, and vary your speed.  Vary your inflections and emphasize key words as well.

    Also, record your voice in private.  In fact, re-read this section in your normal voice and play it back.  If you have never recorded yourself before, you’ll be surprised by what you hear!

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    3. Are You a Predictable Talker?

    The Predictable Talker lives in the serious and literal world.  If they get up to use the restroom, and you ask them where they are going, they will always respond, “to the restroom.”  Everything they say is predictable; they’ll never surprise you with something unexpected.  In contrast, a Playful Talker may respond to that question with a number of unpredictable playful responses.  For example, “I thought I’d leave you with the bill,” or “I’m going to pickup that girl,” or “I’m trying to escape.”  The best conversation is playful and unpredictable; Predictable Talkers have trouble playing!

    Suggestion:  Train your mind to start considering the unexpected responses.  Next time someone asks you a question or makes a comment, mentally think about what response would be unexpected or unpredictable (within reason!).  Once in a while, try one of these unexpected comments and see how you do.  You may surprise yourself.

    4. Are You a Conversation Narcissist?

    Conversation Narcissists love nothing more than to talk about themselves.  The only reason they ask the other person a question like, “How was your weekend?” is so they can circle it back around to them again, “that’s nice…let me tell you about what happened to me…” They rarely inquire seriously about the other person or ask follow up questions.

    Suggestion:  This is easy to fix, be genuinely interested in the other person.  When someone tells you something, keep the focus on them, ask follow up questions, recall previous comments the person said, etc.

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    5 Powerful Ways for Building Fulfilling Relationships

    5 Powerful Ways for Building Fulfilling Relationships

    We all have relationships. We have acquaintances, relatives, colleagues, neighbors and friends. However, for a large percentage of us, many of these relationships are not fulfilling.

    They are unfulfilling because they lack real strength; and they lack real strength because they lack real depth.

    Unfortunately, in today’s society, we tend to have shallow, superficial relationships with others, and it’s extremely hard for this kind of relationships to provide anything more than faint satisfaction.

    I’d like to show you, based on my experience as a communication and confidence coach, how you can add a significant amount of depth, and thus strength, to your relationships and make your social life a whole lot more meaningful.

    Here’re 5 simple yet powerful ways for meaningful relationships building:

    1. Meet More People

    This is an apparent paradox, but the quality of the people you meet has considerably to do with the quantity of people you meet.

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    If you don’t know a lot of people and you barely meet one or two new people every season of the year, considering the variety of individuals out there, you won’t meet very often people who are a good match with you in terms of personality, interests and values.

    And since this natural match plays a huge part in building strong relationships, you’ll just as seldom have the opportunity to develop strong relationships.

    Conversely, if you go out a lot, you meet a lot of new people and you constantly expand your social circle, you’re much more likely to meet people you match up well with, and these people have a tremendous potential to become good friends, reliable partners, etc.

    This is why it’s important to meet more people.

    2. Talk about the Things That Matter To You

    A relationship becomes the strongest when two people discover they believe in the same things and have similar interests. It’s these commonalities regarding values and interests that create the strongest emotional connection.

    I’ve noticed that many people keep conversations shallow. They talk about trivial stuff such as the weather, what’s on TV, the lives of various movie stars, but they rarely talk about what really matters to them in life. This is a mistake from my perspective, because it’s the perfect method for a relationship to not develop.

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    Talk about the things that truly matter to you and give others a chance to know what you care about and what you believe in. If they believe in the same things and they care about the same things, they’ll eagerly let you know. Thus you’ll find meaningful common ground and you’ll feel more connected.

    3. Express Vulnerability

    Many people try to come off as perfect. They don’t talk about their failures, they hide their shortcomings and they never say anything that could embarrass them.

    This is all just a facade though. You may appear perfect to some, but you know you’re not perfect and they know that too. You’re only human and humans have flaws.

    However, by hiding your flaws, what you do succeed in is appearing cold and impersonal. You seem like a marble statue rather than a real person. And this makes it very hard for anyone to connect with you emotionally.

    Humans connect with other humans, not with ideals. Keep this in mind and don’t be afraid to let your vulnerability and your humanity show. This is what takes a relationship to the next level.

    Take a look at this article and find out Why Showing Vulnerability Actually Proves Your Strength.

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    4. Have Integrity

    Integrity, as I see it, is the alignment between your thoughts, your words and your actions. When you say what you think and you do what you said you’ll do, you have integrity.

    This is a crucial trait because if you have integrity, people can trust you. They can trust you to give them an honest feedback, even when it’s hard to shallow, and they can trust you to keep your promises.

    This trust is one of the central pillars of a strong relationship, both in your personal and your professional life. So, as challenging as it can be sometimes, always try to have integrity.

    Be honest with the people around you, even when this will initially hurt them. It’s more important for them to trust you than to not feel hurt. And always do what you promised. Even better, think twice before you promise anything, and only promise what you really can and you are willing to do.

    5. Be There for Others

    Another central pillar of strong relationships is support. Connections between people grow sturdy if they can rely on each other for support when it’s needed, whether that support means a few kind words or several massive actions.

    Of course, you can’t be there for everybody, all the time. Your time, energy and other resources are limited. But what you can do is identify the genuinely important people in your life and then seek to be there as much as possible, at least for them.

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    Your support will help them practically, and it will comfort them emotionally; which makes one hell of a difference in a relationship.

    The Bottom Line

    With the right mindset and the right behavior, you can strengthen a wide range of relationships in your life and advance them as far as they can be advanced.

    And with strong relationships, not only that you feel more fulfilled, but you feel more connected to the entire world. You feel that your life has real value, you have more fun and you live in the moment. An entire world of opportunities opens up in front of you.

    Then your task is to simply walk through the open doors.

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    Featured photo credit: Proxyclick Visitor Management System via unsplash.com

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