Roadblocks to communication are what we hear (or say) when we deliver a message but the listener doesn't accept what we’re saying. The listener resists our message and attempts to end or divert the conversation by one of the following methods:

Ordering, Directing, Commanding (Do this; Don’t do that; Stop it; This is what you should do . . . ).

Warning, Admonishing, Threatening (Do this or else; If you don’t do this then . . . ; I’m warning you; Be careful).

Moralizing, Preaching, Imploring (You should do this; It’s your responsibility; It’s your duty; I wish you would).

Advising, Giving Suggestions or Solutions (In my opinion . . . ; Here’s what I suggest . . . ; I think the best thing for you to do is . . . ; I have a better idea).

Persuading with Logic, Lecturing, Arguing (The facts show . . . ; Here’s the way it is . . . ; The right thing to do is  . . . ; Logic dictates that . . . ).

Judging, Criticizing, Disagreeing, Blaming (You’re wrong; That’s stupid; It’s your fault; You’re being foolish).

Praising, Agreeing, Evaluating Positively, Buttering Up (You’re so smart; You’re always right; That’s great!; You have lots of potential).

Name-Calling, Ridiculing, Shaming (You’re sloppy; You’re stupid; You messed up; You talk like an engineer).

Interpreting, Analyzing, Diagnosing (You’re jealous; You have problems with authority figures; You’re paranoid; You’re saying that because you’re angry).

Reassuring, Sympathizing, Consoling, Supporting (You’ll feel differently tomorrow; It’s always darkest before the dawn; It’s not that bad; Don’t worry, be happy).

Probing, Questioning, Interrogating (What made you do that?; What have you done to solve it?; What makes you think that?; Why?).

Distracting, Diverting, Kidding (Think about the positive; Sleep on it; Let me tell you what I think . . . ; That reminds me of a story . . . ).

Some of these may not seem like roadblocks, in fact some seem good and helpful. How can reassurance or praise be bad? Isn’t it good to give helpful advice or praise? But the fact is that what we say could keep the other person from continuing to share their feelings. Of course there are those who won’t stop talking no matter what and plow through any roadblocks no matter how hard we get them to shut up.

But for many people it is hard for them to share their feelings. The best way to listen is active listening: Listen attentively, assume their posture, and repeat back what the other person is saying so that they know they’re being heard and understood. By listening we not only help the other person, but we can also learn.
 





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