001: Five Behaviors That Break Down a Conversation


“I have nothing to wear!” We’ve all either heard it or said it (depending on our gender.) Today Vincent and Laura unpack the hidden meaning(s) behind this common complaint.

Five Common Behaviors That Harm a Conversation

They take a look at five ways that couples can unwittingly destroy a conversation:

1. Talking Too Fast or Talking Over Someone. Many people get carried away with their own thoughts and forgot about the other person. You feel such a need to be heard or win the argument. You forget someone else is a part of the conversation. As a result, you talk too fast or bulldoze over the other person.

2. Not Considering The Other Person’s Point of View. Similarly to the first behavior, you are oblivious – maybe as a result of busyness – or you just don’t care how about how the other person is feeling and their needs.

3. Using Closed Body Language. You are looking away from the other person. Your arms are crossed. Your face is stern and disinterested. All of these are signs of closed body language.

4. Trying to Carry On Conversations From Another Room. This is taking the closed body language to another level, but sometimes people are unaware of the message it sends. Being in another room sends a message, “I don’t want to talk to you” or “what you have to say is not important enough for me to pay full attention.”

5. Device Distraction by Smartphones and Technology. Trying to carry on a conversation while you are on the computer or watching television only frustrates the other person. This distraction communicates, “I am not choosing to give you my full attention.”

Conversation To-Do Checklist

1. Slow down!
2. Ask yourself if you’re missing information from the person talking, before you respond.
3. Summarize what the other person is saying, and if you’ve gotten it wrong, ask more questions so that you can summarize what they are saying again.
4. Summarize until you get it right. (Usually they will nod if you’ve summarized correctly.)
5. Use open body language. (Non-intimidating eye contact, but arms and hands open and welcoming.)
6. Make it a point to speak face-to-face with someone.
7. Don’t have important “conversations” via text or email.
8. Have tech-free dinners, dates, and activities. (When you are with others, have everyone put their devices away.)

After learning how to avoid using the five ways to break down a conversation, you won’t sabotage a conversation again, unless you mean to.

Applicable Bible Verse(s):

James 1:19 – “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,

Proverbs 18:21“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Proverbs 21:23“Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.”

Proverbs 13:3“Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.”

Matthew 12:37“For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Trouble Communicating? Licensed professional counselors Laura and Vincent Ketchie discuss “Five Behaviors that Break Down a Conversation.” Learn ways to overcome these communication errors from their Relationship Helpers podcast.