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Communication Skills/Confused relations with a relative


QUESTION: Hi I am a 25 yr old guy,
N I think I have problem with expressing my ideas to people,
I think people find me , over confident, or for that matter selfish n attitude giver, uninterested. When in reality I am not!!

N it shows greatly when I talk with one of my relative who is a girl, everytime we talk, I think she gets thrown away from the conversation,
I just find it hard to connect with her,
Maybe I just dont know how to talk with people,

Today it is my birthday, n she called me up to wish me,
n that was from an unknown no.
I could not recognize her voice, n midst the talk, I found it to be her, N till then she was like thats it , n she cut off,

I played the recording in my ph n it was my fault , my voice was a bit confused maybe coz I was thinking abt who it was...
Am feeling very sinful now, for not replying enthusiastically , it was just like : wishes,hi-by, wats gng on, n bang she was off..

I dont even understand if am sounding clear to you!! but I am feeling very guilty,

It kinda happens too much with this girl, she is my cousin (my dad's sister's daughter).

we are of the same age, n I get this feeling like she might be thinking of me as a useless person, who doesn't know to talk with people.....

Please please please help me out....
How can I make her understandings abt me false ...... I am feeling very very guilty!!!!!! :-/

ANSWER: Hello anonymous

First of all, Happy Birthday!

This is all about communication, or the lack of it.  Part of the problem I see right now is that you are making assumptions about how you sound to people and how they think about you.  It does not seem to occur to you to ask them how you sound to them.  You see, anonymous, one of the biggest obstacles to communication is assumption.  Whatever you assume about the other person, will be the way that you hear them.  That also means that the way you think you sound to other people is the way you will judge their interpretation.

What harm would there be to call your cousin and explain to her that you didn't realize that it was her on the phone at first, and that's why you sounded aloof?  Assuming that she took umbrage with you for the reason you think is part of the problem.  If in fact she did misunderstand you, then apologize for the misunderstanding, and tell her you appreciated the call.

Here is something else that I noticed in your actual question.

You said: "How can I make her understandings abt me false ...... I am feeling very very guilty!!!!!! :-/"

Technically that isn't a question.  What does it mean - "abt me false"...?  Did you forget something, or was your short-hand so short that it obfuscated meaning?  You took the time and effort to write to me, and I applaud your courage to ask; but I want you to realize that you need to make a greater effort at being clearer.  If this is your pattern of communication, then it is perhaps understandable that people misinterpret what you say.

There is a tenet in Neuro-linguistic Programming, (which is the art and science of interpreting communication) that says, "Whatever the person hears is the message that was given."  What this means for you is that if they are hearing you as overconfident, uninterested, etc, then that is the message you are giving.

You need to speak to others by telling them exactly what you mean, without presupposing how they are going to hear you.  I suspect that you are trying to speak the way you think is the safest way to talk as opposed to the way the honestly infers your meaning.

Now another thing.

Did you see how much short-hand you put into your writing?  This isn't a phone text, it is a letter, and yet you took many short-cuts to your communication by using letters to mean words.  At the same time you feel as if people misunderstand you.  Does that not ring a bell? Your text is ambiguous at best, which is ironic given that you are writing to ask how to be better understood.

I am keenly interested in the fact that you mentioned feeling guilty.  You didn't say why you were feeling guilty, but I have to suppose that it is because you felt you did something wrong when speaking to your cousin. Again see how being too terse in your writing can leave important information out.  

Again, let me just say that rather than feeling guilty, pick up the phone and explain it to her. That is easy to say, and I suspect that if it was that easy (even though it is the right thing to do), you would have done it.  The guilt indicates that you have strong negative feelings about yourself that inadvertently gets broadcasted in your communications.

Anonymous, just because you feel that there is something wrong with you, it dose not mean that it is true. As a matter of fact, I can assure you that our feelings about our selves almost NEVER has anything to do with who we are.  If you want to improve your communications such that people really understand you and don't believe that you are something that you are not, you are going to have to risk being honest with others when you speak.  By honest I don't mean that you are lying, I simply mean that you leave enough out of your communication that you force people to fill in the blanks, and they will of course do so based on their own biases.

Start practicing telling people exactly what you mean. No cliches, no coded messages, just tell them simply what you want to say. If you don't understand someone or you didn't hear them clearly, say so. They will appreciate the fact that you care enough to hear what they have to say.

Finally, a simple thing to do in communication.  Ask people what they understood from what you were saying, and see if what they say is what you meant.  It's very simple, yet people would rather assume that what they say is what people hear; you know from experience that that isn't necessarily so.

I hope this helps.  Please rate this answer honestly.

Phil L. Méthot

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I am very glad that you replied to my question Phil.
Thankyou for really taking the pains to explain me my mistakes,

One thing that you asked about, In the answer was that you did not understand what I meant by:
"How can I make her understandings
abt me false ...... I am feeling very
very guilty"

Sorry I just meant to ask you to suggest me ways to make her feel different , while the next time we both have a conversation!!!

There is one thing that I notice (I didn't talk to you about this in my previous question) everytime we have a face to face conversation is that -
While speaking I can read from seeing at her eyes that she might be making constant judgements about me!!
Now that is something that drives my concentration off the actual topic I was talking about!

There was also an incident that happened to explain this!!

I received a call from her while I was playing a computer game,
I picked up the call,
Amidst the talk she asked me about "What I was doing?"
to which I answered honestly :
"nothing serious, just playing a game on my computer!"
And then the very next second she blatantly made a statement :
"Are you small enough to play games?" (like grow up, stop behaving like a kid)

I was like: "Sorry?"

N then she asked me to hand over the phone to my dad!!

Now Phil should I ask people what they want me to do and what not to?
How should I behave etc.... I just don't understand!!!

What would you suggest me?
How do I get over this?

:( :(

There is a dangerous slope that people find themselves sliding down sometimes, and that is the slope of trying to behave the way others want you to behave, rather than being you.

You ask: "How do I behave", and I answer to you, DON'T behave...BE.

There is absolutely no way that you can 'win' in life by molding your behaviour to the perceived needs of those around you, (especially those you may care about). The more you mold yourself into their image of you ,(or your perceived image of how they see you) you are lost.

Let me ask you this.  What if in fact she was making a judgement of you?  What if in fact the judgement was harsh for whatever reason? Even if these were true statements, would you really give up who you are for who someone wants you to be?  What if they change their mind next month; would you have to start all over again and be someone else?

How many doctors are out there, who really wanted to be painters, singers, or stand-up comedians, but went into med school because someone told them that is what they should be? The answer is - more than you know.

There is, and only will ever be one of you! Why waste it on being someone else?

You also have asked me how you could make her feel different about you. May I strongly suggest that you be yourself, and if you are not sure how she feels abut you - ASK HER!  If you are you, really letting yourself do the things you like to do, and expressing yourself honestly, and she has a problem with that - it is her problem, not yours.  Trying to mold yourself to change how she feels is a recipe for life disaster. Don't do it!

Q "Now Phil should I ask people what they want me to do and what not to?"

A A huge resounding - NO.  You should ask yourself what you want to do- then do it!

I hope that you are seeing the pattern in your questions.  I hope that you read between your own lines that you are trying to change yourself to please others, and that formula only works to make everyone unhappy. The words of wisdom from long ago; To Thine Own Self Be True, are words that you should paste on your mirror so that you can be reminded everyday, that the only true opinion that matters in the end, is your own.

And finally;  How do I get over this?

It isn't about getting over anything.  It is about deciding that who you are is what is important, and as with all of us, some people will like you for it, some won't.  That's their choice, not your burden.

:) :)

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Phil L. Méthot


For individuals wanting help with public speaking, I can answer most questions dealing with skills, memory,and body language. Essentially the tools required to become a great speaker. For individuals having trouble communicating one on one, or getting their voice heard, or their message across, I can help you with that too. Listening is an important part of communication, so we can work on improving your listening skills as well. If you feel you are not being understood, that is a deeper issue, but we can start here to steer you in the right direction


I have successfully worked with corporations as a motivational management consultant across Canada. I have twice been President of a Toastmasters group, as an Advanced Toastmaster Gold. I wrote the multimedia ebook: "10 Steps to Becoming A Great Public Speaker." My book "Through the Door!" :A Journey to the Self, dealt with self-image and Will Power. Self Image plays a key role in our ability to communicate and listen effectively.

Toastmasters - Currently President of Pointe-Claire Toastmasters (club 9750)

Book: "Through the Door!" :A Journey to the Self by Phil L. Méthot Book: The Weight is Over - A revolution in Thin Thinking by Phil L. Méthot Multimedia Book: 10 Steps to Becoming A Great Public speaker by Phil L. Méthot Articles in,

Canadian Training and Development Group, success Motivation International

Awards and Honors
Three times recipient of the Presidents club award through the Canadian Training and Development Group and Success Motivation International.

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