Don’t Say These 4 Phrases To Someone With A Chronic Condition

Psychologist, Dr. Michael Nichols, and author of The Lost Art of Listening, highlights many people believe they are good listeners when in fact, they aren’t. Dr. Nichols notes not only are people distracted when communicating, they also have a tendency to interrupt. Dr. Nichols outlines phrases that get in the way of effective listening. These phrases include the following:

1.“That reminds me of a time when…” Instead of rushing into your experience, focus on the person, provided support and acknowledgment and then share your perspective.

2.“Oh how awful.” It is important to give sympathy in conversations. However, excessive emotional expressions take the focus off the other person and isn’t listening. Dr. Nichols notes, “listening means taking in, not taking over.” His suggestion is to acknowledge the speakers experience in a genuine way without expressions or emotions that come across as patronizing and dis-genuine.

3.“Well, if I were you…” When someone is seeking support, unsolicited advice is not only annoying, it shuts down a person’s ability to further express him/herself. Dr. Nichols notes, “telling a person with a problem to “do something constructive’” reflects the listener’s inability to tolerate his or her own anxiety. Instead, the suggestion is to suspend oneself when listening and be responsive rather than introducing your own agenda.

4.“Don’t feel that way.” Telling someone not to feel something not only dismisses a person’s feelings through lack of acknowledgement, but it’s also emotionally isolating. And, when you tell someone not to feel, in essence, you are conveying the message that you are uncomfortable with the content and emotion expressed in the conversation.