How to deal with someone who sucks with communication
I was in a relationship with someone who had a terrible communication problem. He’d say things that would kill me and then, when I’d get angry. He’d act like all my anger was just because I didn’t understand him. We were both miserable and we couldn’t figure out how to make it better. Then one day, after one of our many fights about this very subject, I found myself thinking: “You know what? Why don’t we just go back to the beginning here?
How can you possibly expect me to understand if you don’t tell me clearly what’s going on?” That’s when I realized something: If you’re in a relationship with someone who sucks at communicating but won’t admit it or fix it. And let’s face it, those types are everywhere these days. There are ways to deal with them without making yourself crazy! And here they are:
Recognize communication issues.
The first step in dealing with someone who sucks at communication is recognizing that it’s a two-way street. You can’t control what the other person does or says, but you can control how you react to their actions. Recognizing this fact is key because it frees up your energy and allows you to focus on yourself instead of trying to change or fix the situation.
When someone doesn’t communicate well with me, I always assume that they are trying their best and just need help understanding me better–not that they’re trying to hurt me intentionally (even though sometimes they might be). In fact, most people aren’t intentionally mean when they “suck” at communicating; rather than blaming themselves for not being able to get through
Clarify what’s really being said.
- Clarify what’s really being said.
- Ask for clarification if you don’t understand something or need more information, but don’t assume that the other person will know what you’re asking for unless they ask for it themselves! Try saying, “Let me make sure I understand: are you saying…?”
- Use body language to show that you are listening and interested in what they have to say. Make eye contact, nod occasionally (but not too often), and don’t interrupt while they’re speaking.
Don’t let them off the hook.
You’re not going to let them get away with it, right? You’re going to call them out on their bad behavior and hold them accountable for their actions.
You’re not going to let them off the hook, are you?
Break it down and stay positive.
- Don’t take it personally
- Don’t get defensive
- Ask questions if you don’t understand something or want more information (but not about the person)
- Walk away if you need to (this doesn’t mean ending the conversation; it just means taking a break from each other)
- End the conversation if your partner doesn’t seem willing to work with you
It’s possible to have a relationship that’s not toxic
You don’t have to deal with this person.
You can leave them, or at least remove yourself from the situation. You can simply stop communicating with them and never look back, if that’s what feels right for you. It’s not your fault that they suck at communication: it’s theirs! They have choices too, but they’re choosing not to make them–and that means it’s on THEM, not YOU.
It may be hard to believe right now. Especially if this person has been manipulative or abusive in any way–but there are other people out there who won’t make you feel bad about yourself when they talk to you (or don’t). There are people who won’t manipulate or guilt-trip their partners into staying in relationships; these people will give their partners space when needed rather than try their hardest every day just so things stay “the same.”
We all have to deal with people who suck at communication. It’s a fact of life! But there are ways to deal with it and make sure that your relationship doesn’t become toxic. If you can recognize the problem in the first place, then you can work together as a team to solve it.
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