8 bad conversation habits you must break for healthy communication

Good conversation habits include listening to the other person, and not interrupting. Read on to know how to have good conversations
Two women talking to each other
A good conversation requires a mutual exchange of ideas and thoughts. Image courtesy: Freepik
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 3 Mar 2024, 07:30 pm IST
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“Hi! How are you?” seems to be a great conversation-starter. But most times, it ends with ‘good!’ and then you are mentally scrambling for topics to chat on! An even worse situation is when a conversation is rather awkwardly stopped due to a difference of opinion, right? The solution lies in knowing the tricks of having healthy conversations by breaking away from bad conversation habits.

Good conversations are meaningful dialogues between people. These don’t have to be serious all the time, but it must be one that is engaging. This is where conversation habits come into place. One inappropriate statement is enough for a good conversation to culminate in a rude, and even embarrassing stop. Health Shots got in touch with counselling psychologist Anu Goel who tells us the art of having good conversations, and what to avoid saying.

What is a healthy conversation?

A healthy conversation is when people are comfortable enough to discuss their problems. “Many times these might be issues that are tough for people to discuss with anyone else openly,” explains Goel. A good conversation would not only allow for such topics to be discussed, but also conclusions to follow.

What are the common barriers of good communication?

There are few things that are a complete no-no when it comes to having constructive conversations with people.

1. Inability to listen to others

A conversation is a two-way process where there is an exchange of ideas and beliefs. Therefore, it is integral that you are paying attention when the other person is speaking.

Two women in an argument.
A conversation can result in an argument if bad conversation habits are not dropped. Image courtesy: Freepik

2. Different conversation styles

We meet people from all walks of life and people’s way of talking differs. “At times, we meet people with language barriers in the sense that they are able to express themselves in a language that we probably can understand, but not relate to too much,” says Goel. This can often pose as a hindrance to a good conversation.

3. Lack of trust in people and transparency

It is very important to trust the other person while communicating with them. A lack of trust can often have you wonder if the other person has your best interests at heart. “It may also lead to suspicion, jealousy as well as other harmful thoughts that are not conducive to a healthy conversation,” says Goel.

Also Read: 6 tips to ease your way into having a difficult conversation

Conversation habits you must break

1. Being ready with a response

It is important to listen and understand what a person’s saying without forming our views and opinions. “Very often, just to sound smart, we are quick to share our verdict of a person’s situation, and this can often make them feel taken off guard. They may even retreat and not share the rest of their problem,” says Goel.

2. Interrupting the other person

Breaking into a person’s train of thought, in order to speak our point of view, is a rather rude way to conducting a conversation. It can even end a conversation on a bad note. “We often don’t realise how much we interrupt other people. We might think it’s once or twice, but it might be actually much more. This can have an impact on the trust and respect in a relationship,” says Goel. It is very important to pause for a minute or two after a person has finished talking, in order to continue the conversation with your side of the story.

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3. Not pausing while speaking

We have so much to say that we often don’t give time for the other person to respond to what we are saying. “A conversation is more about engaging with the other person, rather than just saying what we feel. So, it is very important that we talk at a speed where the other person can understand what we are saying and also has a chance to intervene and respond,” explains Goel.

4. Trying to always be right

“I told you” is a phase that must be avoided in a conversation. This phase can more than often lead to the other person being totally put off, and ending the conversation. “It doesn’t always have to be about the winning argument. It is very important to offer constructive advise only when asked. The other person must have space to be heard in a conversation,” says Goel.

5. Overlapping conversations

You cannot always have had the ‘worst day’, or the ‘best experience’. When we start to compete with our conversation partner, talking about how our day was worse than theirs, it can often lead to an argument, instead of a healthy conversation.

Also Read: How to set boundaries with friends and why

6. Reacting instantly

It is imperative that one listens in a conversation, and then gives our reply. “You must concentrate on not only listening, but also understanding what the other person is saying, where he or she is coming from, their state of mind; and then come up with your response. Reacting instantly to a statement never brings any good,” explains Goel.

A man and woman talking
Listening to the other person is the basis of a good conversation. Image courtesy: Pexels

7. Ignoring the other person’s reaction

There might be time when the other person might not be reacting in the way we think he or she should. They might be taking an offense to what you are saying, or maybe what you are saying is making them uncomfortable or even sad. “You must be able to notice these cues of the person. Your replies should be according to how a person is reacting, one should talk accordingly,” says Goel.

8. Lying your way through a conversation

We might catch ourselves giving advice about things that we have no idea about. “Admitting to not knowing something is very important. If you don’t know something, say that you don’t. This does not make you small, but at least you are able to answer right,” says Goel.

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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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