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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 February 13, 2019

    10 Things Happy People Do Differently

    10 Things Happy People Do Differently

    Think being happy is something that happens as a result of luck, circumstance, having money, etc.? Think again.

    Happiness is a mindset. And if you’re looking to improve your ability to find happiness, then check out these 10 things happy people do differently.

    Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. -Dalai Lama

    1. Happy people find balance in their lives.

    Folks who are happy have this in common: they’re content with what they have, and don’t waste a whole lot of time worrying and stressing over things they don’t. Unhappy people do the opposite: they spend too much time thinking about what they don’t have. Happy people lead balanced lives. This means they make time for all the things that are important to them, whether it’s family, friends, career, health, religion, etc.

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    2. Happy people abide by the golden rule.

    You know that saying you heard when you were a kid, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Well, happy people truly embody this principle. They treat others with respect. They’re sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other people. They’re compassionate. And they get treated this way (most of the time) in return.

    3. Happy people don’t sweat the small stuff.

    One of the biggest things happy people do differently compared to unhappy people is they let stuff go. Bad things happen to good people sometimes. Happy people realize this, are able to take things in stride, and move on. Unhappy people tend to dwell on minor inconveniences and issues, which can perpetuate feelings of sadness, guilt, resentment, greed, and anger.

    4. Happy people take responsibility for their actions.

    Happy people aren’t perfect, and they’re well aware of that. When they screw up, they admit it. They recognize their faults and work to improve on them. Unhappy people tend to blame others and always find an excuse why things aren’t going their way. Happy people, on the other hand, live by the mantra:

    “There are two types of people in the world: those that do and those that make excuses why they don’t.”

    5. Happy people surround themselves with other happy people.

    happiness surrounding

      One defining characteristic of happy people is they tend to hang out with other happy people. Misery loves company, and unhappy people gravitate toward others who share their negative sentiments. If you’re struggling with a bout of sadness, depression, worry, or anger, spend more time with your happiest friends or family members. Chances are, you’ll find that their positive attitude rubs off on you.

      6. Happy people are honest with themselves and others.

      People who are happy often exhibit the virtues of honesty and trustworthiness. They would rather give you candid feedback, even when the truth hurts, and they expect the same in return. Happy people respect people who give them an honest opinion.

      7. Happy people show signs of happiness.

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      smile

        This one may sound obvious but it’s a key differentiator between happy and unhappy people. Think about your happiest friends. Chances are, the mental image you form is of them smiling, laughing, and appearing genuinely happy. On the flip side, those who aren’t happy tend to look the part. Their posture may be slouched and you may perceive a lack of confidence.

        8. Happy people are passionate.

        Another thing happy people have in common is their ability to find their passions in life and pursue those passions to the fullest. Happy people have found what they’re looking for, and they spend their time doing what they love.

        9. Happy people see challenges as opportunities.

        Folks who are happy accept challenges and use them as opportunities to learn and grow. They turn negatives into positives and make the best out of seemingly bad situations. They don’t dwell on things that are out of their control; rather, they seek solutions and creative ways of overcoming obstacles.

        10. Happy people live in the present.

        While unhappy people tend to dwell on the past and worry about the future, happy people live in the moment. They are grateful for “the now” and focus their efforts on living life to the fullest in the present. Their philosophy is:

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        There’s a reason it’s called “the present.” Because life is a gift.

        So if you’d like to bring a little more happiness into your life, think about the 10 principles above and how you can use them to make yourself better.

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