Do You Fall Into One of These Negative Communication Patterns?

by 26Health Staff

Have you ever heard the comment, “You train people how to treat you”? I never understood it until recently. If you find that people cut off communication with you for reasons they never explain, don’t respond to your texts, or that you sense a chasm of distance between yourself and people you thought were close, there might be a very good reason for that.

It’s possible YOU are asking for it.

Patterns of Communication That Can Alienate Others

There are a few patterns of communication that have popped up in therapy lately which have stuck with me – you might recognize them: people who complain a lot, and people who routinely badmouth others.

People might not realize that they’re doing it until they’ve lost a friend.


What is your worldview? Is the glass half-full or half-empty? If, for example, your boss notices that you complain about your relationship, your friendships, family, landlord, vet, local grocery store, or whatever, they can be pretty sure that you complain about your work. Naturally, this creates a lack of trust and impacts your work environment in a negative way.

There’s a difference between venting and complaining. Sometimes someone just needs to get something out of their system and that’s fine as long as it’s shared privately in a safe environment. The person “venting” may actually be looking for a solution. If they seem to listen to your suggestions but then give you reasons why your suggestions won’t work, that’s complaining. The helpful listener in this situation becomes weary and tired of this and no longer wants to hear it. Many times, people don’t pick up on that cue and end up losing a friend or potential partner.

Speaking Negatively About Others

As for those who never have a nice thing to say about anyone, my mom had an old rule of thumb that I think makes a lot of sense: “Don’t ever write or say anything about another person that you wouldn’t mind that person reading or hearing.”

Everyone has “that friend,” the one who talks badly about everyone they know. You can assume that person speaks badly of you, too. Again, this type of situation creates a lack of trust. My mom always had two other sayings that I try to live by: “Do unto others as you would have done to you” and “Think before you speak.” All in all, I have to say mom was right.

Improve Your Communication Style

Have you fallen into one of these negative communication patterns? Meet with a 26Health counselor to learn how to break free and create a more effective communication style.