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There are plenty of things said every day, in ordinary run-of-the-mill conversations, we need to weed out and throw in the bin.

They’re what I call Relationship Wreckers. And it’s because that’s exactly what they do; they wreck relationships.

Some people say them because they’re mean or think they’re superior. But most people say them because they’re just being careless. And we can all be a little careless from time to time. But either way, they can drive a wedge between people, even between people who love each other.

What follows is a brief look at what I’ve found to be the ten most common Relationship Wreckers. You’ll probably find some of them pretty minor and nothing to get too worked up about. But you’ll probably find others to be way more serious.

And you might even find a few things that really get up your nose, haven’t been included. So please feel free to add your own in the comments below – what I’ve written is probably just the the tip of the iceberg.

But just before we look at them, it’s important to understand that sometimes Relationship Wreckers are exactly what we really think. But that’s not the issue.

The issue is this: If we want to maintain good relationships – and of course the ‘if’ is rather important – we need to think carefully about what we want to say. And if necessary, rephrase it so it’s more constructive and less annoying, or simply don’t say it at all.

Here are the ten most common Relationship Wreckers.

  1. Using unflattering or derogatory names to describe people or their behaviour. “John, you’re being ridiculous.” “Where did you get that nonsense from?”
  2. Implying people are stupid and incompetent. “Let me add a little bit of common sense to this debate.” “You didn’t understand my point. Let me say it again.”
  3. Telling people you know what their psychological and emotional problems are.“You know what your problem is? It’s …..” “I admire your confidence Bill. But I think sometimes you’re over confident.”
  4. Instead of just accepting what someone has said when they’re talking about their experiences or something within their area of expertise, jumping in and implying they haven’t looked at the issue properly and you know better. “Have you thought about …” “How about you revisit …..” “I’d have thought such and such.”
  5. Blaming people for their problems. “You’ve only got yourself to blame.” “I told you that would happen.”
  6. Talking too much about yourself instead of having a conversation and letting other people ‘have a turn’. “And then I …” “So I did this and I did that and then I said …..”
  7. Giving solutions when the person hasn’t asked for any. “If I was you, I’d ….” “What someone in your position should do is …”
  8. Not admitting mistakes, not taking responsibility and blaming others. “He made me do it.” “Everyone was confusing me. That’s why I stuffed up.” “It’s all Susan’s fault.”
  9. Discounting people’s help. “Thanks. I knew what to do. I was just checking.” “I would have got it right myself.” “I was about to work it out”
  10. Dismissing people’s ideas and feelings. “Don’t cry over spilt milk.” “You’ll get over it.” “Other people have had it worse.”

If you’d like to make a comment on the one’s I’ve listed, or if you’d like to mention a few of your own, please go ahead – I’m sure you’ve got a few up your sleeve.
All the best, Mark McPherson.

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