Why am I screwing it up

Armin's blog

Human communication can be wonderful. But it can also be annoying and often we know after a few seconds that we screwed it up.

Why are we talking to each other?

For most of us, talking is so natural that we hardly think about it. It just happens, and most of the time, it kind of goes well. We share thoughts and feelings, we give instructions, ask questions, offer criticism, etc.

When we are aware of the scope of a conversation, we prepare intensively. Sometimes we create PowerPoint slides to visually highlight what we want to say, or we even have a video produced to start the conversation. Much more often, however, we go into conversations quite unprepared and sometimes we are annoyed afterwards that it went somehow bad. I asked myself when that was mostly the case with me. My answer: When I wasn't sure what I wanted at the beginning of the conversation.

Possible reasons for a conversation:

  • I want the other to change their behavior.
  • I want to change my own behavior and am looking for support to do so
  • We try to clarify something together.
  • We want to strengthen our emotional bond.
  • We want to solve a problem.
  • I want to achieve a goal and try to win the other over to pull in the same direction.

What does the other want?

We don't like to admit it, but in order for us to move, something has to come out of it for ourselves. Anyone who is supposed to pay money wants to get something for it. Those who invest time want to get closer to their goals. In the end, it's mostly about increasing well-being and avoiding pain.

In order for this to work, nobody can avoid putting themselves in the shoes of others and asking: What does he / she want?

Only when we find common goals will the conversation end with a result that both are happy with.

The biblical statement “Love your neighbor as yourself!” Sums up this dynamic ingeniously.

Who is the other one?

With everything I've written so far, I don't want to reduce anyone to their ambitions. Life is more complex and people are more than their goals. That is why conversations are always about creating a safe space for the other person as a person. Isn't it always astonishing what we discover when we meet others? For me other people are sometimes a mirror, sometimes an inspiration and sometimes a secret.


It's easy to screw up conversations in the first 30 seconds. Just ignore everything I've written so far:

  1. Do not worry in advance about why the conversation is taking place.
  2. Do not think about each other's goals, and in no case try to find common goals.
  3. Avoid creating a safe space and make it clear to the other person as quickly as possible that he / she is not important to you.