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Relationship Communication Problems

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 2

Who has Communication Problems

A couple, married almost 20 years, sits in my office and tells me how the problems in their marriage.  The wife tells me the husband does not listen to her.  He says she nags all the time.  She says he is cold and does not seem to care what she is telling him.  He says he is rigid, negative, and distrustful of him.

A young couple, married less than a year, comes into my office for marriage therapy.  Marriage Therapy????!!! After only one year? She says he is trite and boring.  He says she rambles, is overly complicated, and mishears what he is saying. 

A business executive come for coaching and tells me, he seems to be ineffective in his job now when he used to be the top young executive at the company.  He says when he does meetings now; he is disrespected and even ignored while he is talking.  

A teenager comes in for therapy, forced to be there by his parents and by the juvenile justice system, describes to me how he does drugs and gets into trouble because it seems no one listened to him.  He said he is contemplating suicide.  I told him he is already doing it without the actual attempt.  He is doing things to harm himself, just because, at least to him, he cannot communicate his thoughts to someone he feels is listening. 

A writer for the local newspaper, who is a friend of mine, describes how she used to write and the words seem to flow, but now she is having problems getting the thought from her head to her hand. 

Then there is the psychologist.  He or she may seem to have some problems determining if they need to be strategic or practical.  “Do I need to problem focused, solution focused or just be in the moment with the person I am with?” is a question they may ask themselves.  Sometimes psychologists know they lack clarity to the other person, but it may seem clear to in their mind.  

All these people have something in common, they are having communication problems.  It is said the most common communication problems in marriage couples fight about is money.  This is not exactly true.  The most common problem they fight about is the lack of communication about a lot of topics including money.  Young or old, the relationship communication problems happen in relationships and marriages.  

More executives are fired not from ineptness of the way they do their job, but from the inability to effectively communicate to the higher managers, stakeholders, and subordinates.  Communication problems in the workplace are very common place. 

The teenage years are full of changes and the person is presented with a lot of options and a lot of forks in the road to decide which way to go.  When that teenager cannot communicate what is going on psychological, social, and physical problems will and do occur. 

As a profession writer, the words may not come easy at times.  Even as a psychologist, I was trained to communicate effectively and still at times, I cannot get across what I need to get across to clients, family, and friends.  

Communication problems occur for everyone at some time in their lives. These are just some examples of communication problems. What we have to learn to do is recognize those problems and deal with them before they get too out of hand.  Marriage can be made better.  Managers can become leaders.  Teenagers will make it through the difficult times and become the kind of adult we all want our kids to be.  Writers can write better stories, and psychologist can help more people and be a better spouse, father, friend, and person.

My Confession

That psychologist I talked about earlier was me.  I think about how I am communicating and being effective.  I wonder if the patient understands what I am saying.  I ask them this very question at least two times a session, not just for my own clarification but also for them to reflect on what I said and to give them the opportunity to ask question. 

I have noticed, in my life outside of the psychologist role, I have been lacking effective communication skills at time.  I noticed that we all do.  I have done the research and written this article as much my sake as I do for the reader.  

The information I present in this article is some of the common communication problems that I have seen over the course of my 17 plus years working in the Mental Health Field and studying the psychological and social interactions of others.  I hope you find that you are doing very few of these and if you are doing more than you like, that you will try to correct them to save your relationships, jobs, and future. 

The 10 Communication Areas of Concern

I have broken down the types of communication problems I have seen into 10 categories.  Each category has many different types of communication concerns in each.  I will describe these concerns and in the next article give some ways to correct them.  Remember for communication to occur there has to be a presenter and a receiver.  This can be a speaker and a listener; a writer and a reader; or an actor (not Actor as in movies or plays but a person doing an action) and an observer (witness). 

Effective Communication
Lack of Credibility

Whether this is in a marriage, business meeting, or on stage if a person speaking has lack of credibility, the listener will not really hear what they are saying.  If a person is giving a presentation over how to make $1 million writing blogs on line, but has never made more than a few dollars writing on Infobarrel, then the listener will not believe a lot of what is being said.  This is a communication problem.  Some common types of problems in the realm of Lack of credibility are as follows:

  • Promises more than what can be obtained by a reasonable person.
  • Gives facts that are over stated. 
  • Out right lies.
  • Justifies their own opinions.
  • Sounds desperate or needy
  • Lack sincerity
  • Seems like a shyster or trying to sell too hard.


Annoying Tone of Voice or Body Language

  • Does not have a strong voice and seems like they are timid or weak when speaking.
  • Over powering with voice of body language, too loud, or too violent acting with body language.
  • Nasally or have a grating voice.
  • Whiny voice
  • Over acting when presenting a topic with voice and body
  • Breathing too shallow or too deep in inappropriate times.
  • Hesitant when a response is needed.


Communicate Don't Only Talk
Poor Speaker Presentation

  • Talking over the heads of the listeners
  • Talking down or underneath the knowledge of the listener
  • Uses jargon when audience would not understand
  • Has inadequate vocabulary
  • Tries to impress audience with vocabulary
  • Uses words out of context or completely uses the wrong word in the conversation
  • Uses slang
  • Uninformed about the subject
  • “Me” oriented
  • Ignores things that are important steps that must be considered to fulfill the objective


Focus of Attention is Wrong

  • Being too problem focused and not having enough time for solutions
  • Being too solution focused and not determining the right problem
  • Focused too much on the past
  • Focused too much on the future
  • Focusing too much on the present and not what needs to be done or what got them to this point.
  • Gossiping too much
  • Being too strategic
  • Being too practical



  • Being too critical or Judgmental
  • Insensitive
  • Inappropriate humor
  • Trying to sell the person too much on an idea
  • Patronizes
  • Treating the person as a child or younger than they really are
  • Intolerant
  • Not giving enough support
  • Trying to “one Up” someone


Stops or Hinders Communication Flow

  • Easily distracted
  • Too literal
  • Not accepting
  • Interrupting
  • Triangulating (trying to get others on your side against another person)
  • Talks too fast
  • Talks too slow
  • Focuses on minor details and loses sight of the big picture
  • Keeps talking longer than what is needed to communicate the idea
  • Does not respond to person, but only to information


Effective Listening skills
Is not Clear, Precise, or Concise

  • Boring
  • Useless information
  • Adds too much “fluff” to the message
  • Adds too many clichés
  • Gets too bogged down in details
  • Get confused themselves and presents confusion
  • Rambles
  • Gives advice instead of leading the receiver to their own answer
  • Is too Dogmatic
  • Gives too much information
  • Goes longer than what is reasonable expected
  • Assumes too much about the receiver


Is Not Personable.

  • Too cold when talking to others
  • Flat affect
  • Too robotic
  • Too matter of fact
  • Suspicious
  • Negative
  • Over Analyzes
  • Too Judgmental
  • Tries to “talk above them” by using bigger words to impress


Ineffective Listening skills

  • Misses the main points
  • Tries to listen to even the little things and break them apart
  • Only listens to the words and not the body language or tone of what is being said
  • Does not know or understand the presenter and keeps letting them go without trying to get them to stop to clarify
  • Does not reflect back on what they said
  • Listens only to words and not to context
  • Interrupts too much
  • Corrects them when they are talking
  • Tries to decide what you are going to say while they are still talking
  • Stops listening altogether
  • Reacts with negativity while they are still trying to speak
  • Closed body language of receiver
  • Body Language presenting a negative reaction to speaker


Ineffective Style of Presentation

  • Too direct with receiver or audience
  • Not direct enough, too unclear
  • Too slow to get to the point
  • To quick to the point
  • Creating a mind vacuum, taking too much out of the receiver by trying to listen to you
  • Speaks too slow
  • Speaks too fast
  • Speaks to soft
  • Speaks to loud
  • Lectures people at inappropriate times
  • Talks too much
  • Bossy or too controlling
  • Too eager
  • Not getting emotions involved when they should
  • Getting emotional when you should not



The problems with communication are very numerous and a person cannot expect to be perfect at them all the time.  You are human and even though we are the animal best at communication we still have problems.  The presenter and the audience are coming from different backgrounds and that complicates the idea of communication.  

Communication styles
This article was focusing on the problems I have found about communication when working with people to improve their lives and by my own interactions with others.  This is by no means an exhausted list of the problems of communication.  I have found that communication requires effective listening skills as well as effective communications skills. 

The next article will tell some ways you can try to correct the 10 areas of communication problems and how to communicate effectively. These effective communication techniques will help you in every aspect of your life.  Communication skills are needed in every facet of life. Hope you will take some time to read it. 

Fitly Spoken: Developing Effective Communication and Social Skills
Amazon Price: $12.95 $11.66 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 15, 2013)


Jul 24, 2013 2:40am
A wonderful article indeed. Your unique explanation of this issue with your clear, direct and simple expressions makes your piece among a few excellent pieces a blessing to such a beautiful afternoon for me. I definitely would love to connect with you and as a new writer here in infobarrel, I hope I get to learn a lot from a writer like you. Thanks for this wonderful information
Aug 20, 2013 11:37pm
great article we all need help from time to time. but I think people are getting soft and not using their own brains to work through problems. We all have problems and need to work through them without giving in too easy. People need to communicate in a marriage and at least listen to each other properly, and of course stay cool, relax and not lose their temper for nothing.
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