When Communication Stops

We all know someone who struggles with communication, whether it is a professional colleague, a close friend or even a family member.

So what do you do when they either refuse to communicate or simply can’t?  First of all, I would look at their history, do they have a pattern of shutting down or closing off?  If so, does the conflict get resolved?  If not, are you left feeling frustrated, angry or sad?

When communication becomes an issue in work, it’s critical to work through it.  If you are unsuccessful alone, then reach out to your Supervisor or Director to help mediate the issue as most likely the person who is refusing to communicate will be forced to deal with the problem with his or her superiors.

If it is a friend or family member that refuses to communicate with you, you can give them space, and if they are not willing to resolve or address the conflict at a later reasonable amount of time, then seek outside help from a counselor or psychologist, but if they refuse this option, then I would ask yourself several questions.  Is this person willing to work with you on resolving the conflict?  If not, do you want to stay in the relationship?  Does the relationship lift you up, support you, and encourage you when you are down or struggling?  Is the relationship positive or is this person someone who leaves you feeling bad about yourself with a history and pattern of unresolved conflicts.

There is a difference between people who do not know how to communicate and those who refuse to.  People who can’t communicate will still attempt to resolve issues in their own way, whereas people who refuse to talk or address the issue are most likely engaged in a power struggle in which they will win.  This person is not interested in working on the relationship but simply wants to punish you.

Sometimes in life, we are faced with ending relationships.  Life continually shifts and changes and the people in our lives come and go.  In a professional situation, you are more likely to be encouraged to work through issues, but often times, people leave work situations because of difficulties with their colleagues.

The next time you are dealing with someone who is not communicating, ask yourself if they are willing to but unable to express their needs, or if they are simply refusing to work through important problems or misunderstandings.  Are they willing to keep your relationship, whether personal or professional on healthy terms?

Communication is not natural for everyone, but the people that are willing to work through issues with you are the ones that you will have healthy relationships with and probably want to keep around.