What Your Communication Says About You

I’ve often heard the comment, “You train people how to treat you.” I never understood it until the last few years. If you find that people quit talking to you for reasons they never explained, don’t respond to your texts, or that you get frustrated with others easily, there might be a very good reason for that.

YOU might be doing something wrong.

There are a few things that have popped up in therapy lately that have stuck with me: people who complain a lot, those who take on others’ emotions, and people who talk negatively about others often. No one ever seems to realize that they’re doing it, until it’s too late.

You might not notice that you complain a lot, but think about it. What’s your world view? Is the glass half full or half empty? If, for example, your boss notices that you complain about your relationship, your friendships, family, landlord, vet, local grocery store, or whatever, s/he can be pretty sure that you complain about your work. Naturally, this produces a lack of trust and effects your work environment in a negative way.

In addition, there’s a difference between venting and complaining. Sometimes someone just needs to get something out of their system and that’s fine as long as it’s someone with whom they’re close. However, if the person is “venting” under the guise of looking for a solution but then gives you more reasons as to why your suggestions won’t work, that’s complaining. The other person becomes wary and tired of this and no longer wants to hear it. Often, people don’t pick up on that cue and end up losing a friend or potential partner.

People who take on others’ emotions are truly in trouble. Pretty much all day, every day, the average person is surrounded by what they perceive to be “stupid,” “frustrating,” “lacking awareness” etc. You are always going to be around people like this and the best thing you can do is be careful not to absorb it, engage in it, or become party to it. You never know what another person’s story is. They might be functioning the best they can. They might have completely different life experiences than you do. You can’t place the expectations and standards you have for yourself on others.

As for those who never have a nice thing to say about anyone, my mom had an old rule of thumb that I think makes a lot of sense:  “Don’t ever write or say anything about another person that you wouldn’t mind that person reading or saying.” Everyone has “that friend” that talks badly about everyone he or she knows. You can assume that person speaks badly of you. Again, that creates a lack of trust. My mom always had 2 other sayings that I try to live by: “Do unto others as you would have done to you” and “Think before you speak.” All in all, I have to say my mom was right.

Hope this helps!

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