Updated: Nov 23
How ineffective communication can hurt your relationships
The playwright George Bernard Shaw once said: The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
Today, there are many ways in which we can communicate with each other… face to face, over the phone, via text message, through a social media comment, by sliding into DMs... even by just swiping left or right.
But the boom in communications methods haven’t necessarily made us better communicators. Think about the times where a neutral email message was received the wrong way? Or when your mother says you’re rude when you reply 👌 instead of “Ok, mummy”.
The fact of the matter is that poor communication can lead to a number of issues that can put an immense strain on your personal relationships.
Like in the example of replying to someone using an emoji, unclear communication can lead to misunderstandings.
That’s why it is important for us to communicate with empathy. We should consider how the person we’re communicating with will receive our message. Do our words show care or are they flippant? Is my body language positive or negative?
Putting Up Walls
Have you ever experienced a situation where someone has spoken to you rudely or aggressively, and you immediately feel the walls close in around you. You’ve instinctively shielded yourself, and you respond to the person in short, curt answers.
When we feel like we’re under attack, or being judged, we tend to put up walls to shield ourselves from hurt, disappointment and other negative emotions. When this happens, all chances of having open and honest communication fades away.
As such, it is important for us to ensure that our communication is open and respectful to others… and conversely, if we feel antagonized, we should speak up and let the person know how we feel. The person speaking to you may not realise that they’re coming off as being aggressive or rude, and bringing this to their attention could result in them adjusting their tone.
When we don’t communicate effectively, we create distance between us and the people in our lives. Even if we see each other every day and “talk” all the time, we may not experience real closeness if we aren’t clearly communicating what is on our mind.
And if we keep having superficial, passive-aggressive or unproductive conversations, the gap of understanding will keep widening and we may end up feeling more alone than ever.
For all the reasons above and more, effective communication is important in maintaining healthy relationships whether at home, at work or even with your mental healthcare professional.
If you’d like to learn more about how to communicate effectively, you can check out our lesson pack on communication or chat with one of our ThoughtFull Professionals to get some help in coming up with a realistic plan.
ThoughtFull Professionals are credentialed mental health professionals. Through the chat, our Professionals will partner with you in a thought-provoking and creative process that assists you in maximising your personal and professional potential areas of your life.
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In this episode, Celebrity Chef & Asian Food Network Malaysian Ambassador, Ili Sulaiman, talks about why communication is important.
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