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3 Ways Your Habits Stop Effective Communication at Home and Work

Apr 3, 2008
Our habits support what strategies we can use for effective communication. Consider the conflicts and frustration you experience every day. If you objectively observe these communication experiences don't be alarmed to find 98% of them are habitual communication breakdowns. Meaning, it's predictable that you will react the same way every time you encounter a specific stimulus (Think difficult co-worker, demanding spouse, and whiny children for clearer visual).

Most of us never stop to think about the role our habits play when we're kneed deep in an argument, manipulating others to do what we want, or taking comments personally. That's because once habits are formed they are run unconsciously. Since we learn most of these habits in our youth, people assume what triggers them is just a part of who they are. Unfortunately, the hard-wired strategies we use when conversations start to breakdown unintentionally adds more conflict. By recognizing which of the 3 habits below are running your conversations, Communication Frustration can be sidestepped and connection can occur.

Habit #1 - Moralistic Judgments

Wrongness or badness are the focal points of this habit. The target is anyone who doesn't act according to what we value and desire. Habitual moralistic judging uses language like "That's rude","They're conceited", "She's a good person", "He's lazy", "They're jealous", "She's stupid", "It's inappropriate", "I'm right", "You're wrong", "They're bad people", Other ways of making judgements include placing blame, ethnic slangs, name calling, labels, criticisms, and analyzing. Moralistic judgement is very concerned with who IS what by labeling people based on what they do and say.

Habit #2 - Making Comparisons

This habit is used to imply that you or someone else is irreparably lacking or deficient in some manner. The habit of comparisons includes language such as "She's not so great", "He doesn't deserve", "You're better than", "They just don't get it", "It's not fair", "She always", "I can't do it like", "Let me be devil's advocate". The focus of making comparisons is always about rationalizing. Who deserves what based on what we'd like to have happen or didn't happen to us and those we care about.

Habit #3: Denying Personal Responsibility for Self and Others

Convincing others we aren't personally responsible for our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is the focus of this habit. Language we use to deny personal responsibility often includes "My boss says I have to", "I can't do it", "You make me angry", "She told me I could", "Nobody helped me", "I yelled because", "Why do you do that to me". Believing we're powerless given the choices available, we expect others to take responsibility for our our emotions, unspoken expectations, wants, and behaviors that we claim we couldn't control.

We all have these habits in one form or another. Look where you see these habits showing up most frequently. Are you judging others who don't act in harmony with your values? Are you trying to get what you want with your spouse, children, and co-workers using manipulation and comparisons? Do you make others responsible for your thoughts and feelings? Do you sacrifice your needs for others and call it responsibility? Do you use your company's polices, procedures, and management to hide behind? Remember that you don't need fixing, but your habits and strategies may.
About the Author
Life Strategist John Reisinger, can help you develop remarkably effective communication skills. Deepen your conversations at home and work and experience Remarkable Living.
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