4 mistakes we unknowingly make in our communication

Nov 3, 2021

Mike Korman

I’m a certified coach therapist supporting and guiding those desiring more compassion and connection to themselves and in their relationships. I weave together nonviolent communication and mindfulness.

We live in a world where the way in which we communicate is deeply instilled in all of us, in our families, societies and bigger structures. And it has been for generations. 

As we grew up, we observed how others communicated with one another and we adopted these ways of communicating for ourselves. 

I believe that the way we communicate leads to the creation of distance between us more than to the creation of closeness. 

I believe that when we communicate, what we really want is connection with the other person more than to be right. 

I believe that we’ve lost touch with something we inherently knew as children. That communication is how we express our own needs and feelings and how we connect with and try and make sense of the needs and feelings of others. 

It’s not a battle. It’s a dance. A human dance. 

Nonviolent communication or kindful communication as I call it, is a way of remembering how to communicate in a way that promotes closeness and connection. 

Here are 4 communication mistakes we all make and their opposites, which when followed, can return us to a more natural way of communicating.

Mistake 1: We only notice the person’s behaviour

We tend to get stuck with our attention on what the other person says or does. They shouted, insulted me, ignored me or didn’t listen to me. 

We pay most of our attention to what they did or didn’t do. 

The reverse…

Pay attention to their inner world. Ask yourself: What might they be going through which led them to do or say that? What might they be feeling or needing?

Example, the sales person is impatient or unhelpful. Perhaps they had a fight with their partner this morning, or they are at the end of a really long shift and have a headache.

Next time you feel upset by a person’s behaviour, pause and ask yourself what might be going on in them that led them to behave like that?

Mistake 2: Hearing a problem, offering a solution

When a friend tells us about a problem they have we tend to offer a solution or to try and make them feel better in some way. 

We say “it’s OK, it could be a lot worse” or “I’ve also gone through something similar and this is what worked…”

This is natural and is born out of our desire for their well-being and want to support them. 

Yet it’s not really what they are asking for most of the time. 

The reverse…

We want to be heard and understood first and foremost. So next time, when someone shares a challenge they are going through, pause and ask yourself can I keep listening with my caring eyes and presence and continue to make space for them to share? Can I just carry on being with them in this way for a few more moments?

Mistake 3: Assuming that others see things like I do


We assume that others see things the way that we do. 

This is so easy to do because our experience in life often seems to us to be the experience of others. It makes sense to us, surely it will make sense to them no?

No. Not always. 

The reverse…

Stop and ask the other how they see things. Get curious about their experience. Be almost like a child in wonder, wondering about them. And if in the moment things are too emotionally charged for you to inquire into their experience, then wait till things calm down and then ask. 


Mistake 4: We judge behaviour as good or bad

Perhaps our mother talks non-stop for 40 minutes on a phone call we have with them. We feel irritation within. We judge them “they aren’t aware of themselves”, “they can’t be quiet” and “they can’t really listen to anyone but themselves”. 

Judging is natural and there’s nothing wrong with it. It is a sign that there’s something important to us, a need of ours that is crying out for our attention. 

The reverse…

Next time we notice ourselves judging another we can first let ourselves judge a little more. Give space for our judgments to come up, we might even like to write them down. Then ask ourselves “what’s really important to me in this situation? What am I really in need of?” 

Maybe the need to be heard. Maybe the need to express myself. Maybe the need to feel a sense of connection. Here’s a list of needs which can be of help. 


So I’m curious…did any of these communication habits resonate with you?

Mike Korman
I’m a certified coach therapist supporting and guiding those desiring more compassion and connection to themselves and in their relationships. I weave together nonviolent communication and mindfulness.

Reach me directly here...

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