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Avoid Using Communication Stoppers

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“The highest form of intelligence is the ability to observe without evaluating.” J. Krishnamurti

Have you ever discussed a problem with someone who ignores your emotions and just tries to give you a quick solution?

Communication stoppers are behaviours or phrases that stop a person from communicating authentically and openly. In addition to blocking someone’s ability to fully express themselves, communication blockers can make further attempts at connecting more challenging and less likely.

Below are some examples of common communication stoppers:

Recommending/Advising: Premature or unsolicited advice that cuts through someone’s emotional experiencing and implies that you understand their problem better than they do. (“I think you should…” “If I were you…”)

Interrogating: This is when a person puts too much attention on the facts/details instead of the experience as a whole. An intellectual understanding of a problem can block empathy and create disconnection. (“How exactly did that happen?”)

Me too statements: Me too statements can often take the person away from their own experience and interrupt their processing. (“I totally know how you feel, I’m having trouble, too…”)

Minimizing and condescending statements: These tend to damage the relationship and convey that the person’s reaction is inappropriate or excessive. (“It’s not as bad as you think…” “Just calm down, it’s going to be okay…”)

While it might be difficult to remember a list of communication stoppers in the moment, it’s possible to improve the quality of our communication through active and ongoing self-inquiry. Ask yourself what makes you say what you say, and become aware of how your beliefs impact what you see, hear, say and do.

Remember that the goal here is not to memorize all the right things to do or say, but to cultivate the necessary skills that can allow a person to fully express themselves and process what is going on for them.

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Have you ever discussed a problem with someone who ignores your emotions and just tries to give you a quick solution?

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Stronger Minds content is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to establish a standard of care with a reader, you should always seek the advice of your mental health professional, physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. If you think you may have a medical or mental health emergency, call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency department, or call emergency services immediately. You should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained herein. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information herein should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided herein is solely at your own risk.