Escape These Communication Traps Without Creating Conflict | #PeopleSkills

For success in your work and personal life, don’t get trapped in these uncomfortable communication traps. Here’s how to do it without creating conflict along the way.

Avoid Communication Traps: Image is spider web.

Avoid These Communication Traps w/o Creating Conflict. Image by Bradley Huchteman via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by Bradley Huchteman via Flickr Creative Commons License.

How to Escape These Communication Traps w/o Creating Conflict

In response to a previous blog post I wrote on minimizing verbal conflict by using great people skills, a reader asked me how to handle certain uncomfortable communication traps. Here is my response.

    How to Handle These Five Communication Traps!

  1. Lose/lose setup. This is a trap because every option the other person offers sets you up for failure and or makes you look uncooperative if you say no. You feel it’s a lose/lose for you regardless of what you say. That’s a feeling but not a fact. Simply state other options that can work for all. Be open to discussion on all options including the original ones the other person offered. In other words, create discussion on many options and you escape the lose/lose trap!

  2. Preemptive dialogue. The other person says, “I’ve already thought this through — my side and yours — so this is how we will proceed…” The other person seems to be pre-empting all dialogue and trap you into their preferred path. If this person is your boss and you haven’t expressed “your side”, ask if you can do that now. If the person is not your boss, you can be more direct and say, “Actually I have more to say before we move on.”

  3. Sexism. This is a trap because the behavior labels you in some way that minimizes you or excludes you altogether. If you choose to respond similarly by labeling the person and behavior sexist, be prepared for the denial, “I didn’t mean it that way.” This may trap you in a yes/no discussion about intentions. A more productive choice would be to call the sexist comment “untrue” and continue on with a truer statement about the topic at hand.

  4. And of course these traps …

  5. Manipulation that unwitting participants do not see. Because this trap can feel so complex to people, I wrote a separate blog post on how to respond to manipulative communication. Please click that link to learn how to address this trap.

  6. Casual cruelty. Definition: Remarks that show no empathy, compassion, or awareness of how words impact others. This is a trap because if you overlook it, the perpetrator may think it’s OK to do it again and again. Yet if you respond emotionally, it may also give them impetus to do it again. So, a calm, unemotional response is how to handle casual cruelty. Some choices: “I treat you with respect and I like the same in return. I know we can do it. What do you say?” or “Let’s treat each other with basic respect. It’s kool to care.”

Communication Traps Don’t Have to Trap You

When you start to feel trapped, pause and silently tell yourself that you are capable of un-trapping yourself with your mind and your emotional intelligence. I have used the techniques noted above over and over again with great success. Please leave me your comments and additional questions on this topic in the comments field below.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Steps to Being Authentic w/o Scaring People Away
Responding to Disrespect w/ Dignity
Are These Toxic Ingredients Ruining Your Communication & Making You Look Bad?
Bluntness Bombs Out for These Logical Reasons

©2024 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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