I’ve had some truly frustrating communications failures this week so I thought I’d compile a list of things you shouldn’t do. Because the internet loves lists. And you shouldn’t do these things. Unless you want to piss me off. Probably other people too. But other people didn’t really figure into my thinking. I just get really pissed off when people do these things to me.
1. When you’re asked a yes/no question, don’t waffle on with some rubbish that is neither yes nor no.
“Are you coming out with us tonight or not?”
“Well, I’m just reading this article, then I have to make a phone call and there was a show I wanted to watch…”
“SO FUCKING WHAT? DOES THAT MEAN YES OR NO???”
2. When you’re asked for more information with an open question, don’t give a yes/no answer.
“Where were you when we were having a meeting?”
“No, I wasn’t at the meeting.”
“I know that. What was the reason?”
“Yes, there was a reason.”
“Just piss off.”
3. Don’t give an answer that doesn’t help with the question. Even if your “answer” is factually correct, if it isn’t actually answering the question it’s useless.
“Does anybody know a good Mexican restaurant near Melbourne?”
“There’s a Chinese place in Sydney I really like.”
“What’s that got to do with a Mexican place in Melbourne?”
“I don’t like Mexican food.”
4. When someone is using abstractions or giving an illustrative example, don’t obsess about taking it literally.
“This would be like if we were going to have a roast lamb dinner, bought all the ingredients but didn’t have an oven to cook it in”*
“I’m a vegetarian.”
“I can’t eat the flesh of a lamb corpse – I’m a vegetarian.”
“We’re not really having lamb.”
“You should plan to roast the flesh of murdered animals without consulting with the group.”
“You shouldn’t ever eat anything I offer you. Because it will have poison in it.”
So whether it’s a professional setting, a social setting or communicating in a relationship, try to avoid these mistake. I know I’m not the only one driven crazy by them. As a bonus, here’s an old video abusing another type of person I can’t stand being in a discussion with – the factard. This is the sort of person who insists on derailing a conversation with a point that may be factually true but adds absolutely nothing to the conversation and stops others from communicating in any meaningful way.
*I have no idea what this is an analogy for – I made it up. It’s an illustrative example of an illustrative example. It’s example-ception. Don’t think about it too long – it will asplode you brain.
2 responses to “The four worst communication errors you can make”
Well said. There is also that old standby that irks me; answering a question with a question.
Agreed Flint, well said. Number one is my biggest bug bear. I think I may well have pissed a few off by losing my temper with them with the same sort of reply’s.