3 mins read

Communication Breakdowns

Turning it off when we should turn it on

Are there any situations that get better instead of worse when we stop communicating?

I can’t really think of any either.

So why is it that sometimes when a problem surfaces, we close ourselves off and stop communicating instead of trying to work through the issue?

It’s not like we intentionally turn off communications like a light switch, it’s usually more like a gradual slow down. But the end result is the same … we stop communicating when we should be communicating more.


It doesn’t matter what side you’re on

Sometimes you might be the one who pulls back – because you don’t want to face the other party. Sometimes it’s the other party pulling away – and you’re not sure why they aren’t responsive.

It doesn’t matter – either you’re doing it, or you’re letting it happen.

And you shouldn’t.

An issue for most people – including me

Here’s my admission – I know I do this…

If I’m stuck in a situation it’s possible that I might ignore it.

Well – I don’t actually call my behavior “ignoring it”, I say that I’m “letting it develop further”, or “waiting for other components to fall into place”, or something else that lets me feel better about it.

But no matter what rationalization I use, what I’m really doing is ignoring it in the hopes that it will resolve itself.

Quality and quantity

Another thing I’ve noticed is that it isn’t just the frequency of the communication that drops off; it’s the quality of the interactions. From a careful thought out analysis of operations down to a quick “things are fine.” From a briefing to a brief “great to see you.” (and no hint of trouble is ever uttered – why that might cause the other party to look into this further!)

No way out?

Sticking your head in the sand isn’t the answer.

The correct solution is pretty simple…

You need to face the issue head on and communicate with the other party. Define the problem and explore solutions. Provide more and better communication, not less.

(What’s that? You were looking for an easy fix to avoid dealing with the issue? Sorry, I haven’t found one yet.)

Sleeping better

You can’t keep the bad stuff from happening; it’s part of life. But what you (and I) can do is address it openly and calmly. Find the root of the issue and try to resolve it in the best possible way for all parties involved.

It isn’t going to be like flipping a switch, an overnight fix – but now that you’re aware of it, I’m sure you’ll join me in taking steps to deal with issues and communicate – instead of pretending that they’ll get better on their own.