When you wake up in the morning, you expect that the coming day will bring you joy and happiness. However, it often happens that communication and interaction with other people leave much to be desired, and since communication is an essential part of everyday activities, your mood is not so great as you expected. You may face different barriers of communication that prevent you from perceiving things right and understanding everything correctly. They can have different root causes and influence your communication with other people variously. And the biggest problem is that unfortunately, these unexpected constraints can influence your personal relationships with beloved ones, aggravating the atmosphere inside the couple. It’s very important to fully recognize that every person perceives information in their own way, so it's necessary to find a way to overcome barriers to effective communication. So, let’s try to answer the question, “What are communication barriers?” and understand how exactly they influence your relationships.

barriers of communication

What Are the Barriers of Communication?

Barriers to communication are called obstacles to effective communication, which are caused by natural, social and psychological factors that arise in the process of communication.

People are elements of communication, they are complex and sensitive "recipients" of information, who have their own desires and feelings in addition to life experience. The information they receive can cause a variety of internal reactions that amplify, distort or completely block the information sent to them.

The correct perception of information largely depends on the communication barriers that may or may not be present. If a barrier appears, the information is distorted or loses its original meaning, and in some cases, the recipient does not receive it at all. Communication barriers create a bigger psychological distance between partners, they can reduce the level of mutual understanding, mutual trust and, as a result, the effectiveness of the communication process.

Types of Communication Barriers

Communication for a modern person is as natural and necessary as breathing. And almost everyone, sooner or later, faces barriers that prevent them from receiving joy and benefit.

Sometimes there is a feeling that the partner seems to stonewall, staying on the defensive. Interaction with them is difficult, and it becomes bleak and ineffective. There are many prerequisites for the emergence of such barriers. But the sooner partners identify the basis of their misunderstanding, the more effective their communication will be. Sometimes barriers exist only in their imagination, and this is already enough for their communication to run into a snag. What are the main types of barriers to communication?

1. Physical barrier

Distance between two people can become a real stumbling block on the road to mutual understanding since any communication is a bilateral process. In addition to noise and environmental causes, the very fact of being in different places can make the process of communication much difficult. Physical barriers to communication sometimes play a crucial role in the process of finding common ground.

2. Personal barrier

People are human beings with their own social and cultural values, complexes, prejudice, attitudes, and inability to find a common language with certain types of people. All these factors influence their communication with other people, increasing the distance. Besides, don’t forget about a crisis of trust, in other words, it’s about the discrepancy between words and actions of a person that becomes a real problem and provokes big trust issues. Personal barriers to communication can be also connected with individual peculiarities of thinking due to physical disabilities, illnesses, and poor communication skills.

how to overcome communication barriers3. Language barrier

You know the same words and phrases can mean different things to different people. And if spouses give different meanings to the same statement, they face huge barriers to effective communication in marriage. It’s necessary to understand that people can interpret the words, basing on their world-view, experience, and beliefs. It may seem that people talk in different languages and cannot catch what the interlocutor wants to say. In addition, this type of communication barriers can also include phonetic problems if someone has defects of speech or cannot express their thoughts clearly, using a big number of filler words and sounds.

4. Cultural barrier

We live in a multicultural world when different cultures try to coexist within a few square meters. Quite often people face communication barriers in the workplace especially if they have different levels of development of social intelligence. Many people strictly observe the rules of conduct of the administration and employees, thereby creating ethical barriers and difference in perception of the same message.

5. Interpersonal barrier

Have you ever noticed that sometimes it’s extremely difficult to hear others and understand what they are trying to say with a certain number of words? This can happen due to a certain system of values, negative attitude toward the people or lack of interest in the communication process due to some reasons. Some people spend the whole life, trying to deal with entrenched prejudices about their own value.

6. Psychological barrier

Emotions are a person's subjective reaction to the effects of internal and external stimuli, manifested in the form of pleasure and displeasure, bold impulse, fear, interest, etc. Not all emotions are obstacles in communication, but there are such emotions that contribute to psychological barriers, which in turn arise as a result of permanent negative emotions. Such emotions include suffering, anger, disgust, scorn, fear, shame, guilt and bad mood in general. Emotional barriers to communication make life more difficult.

7. Stylistic barrier

The stylistic barrier arises when the communicator's speech style does not match the situation of communication or speech style and the current psychological state of the recipient. For example, a person may not accept the partner's critical comment because it was said in a friendly manner. That is the style may be inappropriate, too difficult or doesn’t match the situation and the intentions of the partner. If the person uses such phrases as, “You need,” “You must,” “You have to,” there can be overt or covert resistance on the part of the partner.

Cultural Barriers to Communication

You can face ineffectiveness of communication because of cultural differences. Everyone knows that effective communication is the keystone to success in private and business relationships. People may suffer from a lack of a proper dialogue when their actions differ from real motives. Quite often, cultural differences become a stumbling block on the way to mutual understanding. People who have come from different countries cannot find solace in communicating with each other. When foreigners get together, their way of thinking changes. Some of them may be shy while talking, while others are open to conversation. Due to differences in cultural traditions, there is a difference in their upbringing, respectively, in their world-views and beliefs. Even the etiquette of communication varies in different countries, which makes it more difficult.

Conduct and nature

Conduct and human nature can become a barrier to communication. Culture influences one's personality and a way of thinking. While one can communicate easily, another one can feel huge discomfort in the same situation. Fruitful communication is possible only if two people are willing to communicate, and they can understand the differences in their personalities.


Different religions can act as cross-cultural communication barriers at a private or professional level. People may feel uncomfortable dealing with people from other religions. It happens mainly due to the difference in the beliefs they share. Worldviews influence the way of thinking, which can lead to differences of opinion. And it is necessary to understand the reasons for these differences. If you cope with this issue, religion will no longer be a cultural barrier to communication.

Interpersonal Communication Barriers

Interpersonal communication barriers can be connected with the wrong perception of each other and the formation of an assessment of another person or a situation. For example, an aesthetic barrier arises if you don’t like the way your interlocutor looks, just their appearance or untidiness, and this will greatly influence your understanding of what they are talking about. Besides, there is an effect of evaluation, when previously received negative information influences your opinion of the person and can even obliterate the existing perception, even if it is untrue. It is very difficult to discern the truth and the real character of a person. Everything they say can be depreciated and is considered a lie.

Psychological Barriers to Communication

These are about personality traits that influence the communication process. Most often, they are invisible but negatively perceived by others. And if a person notices their otherness and difficulty in maintaining a conversation, then this often leads to the development of complexes.

emotional barriers to communicationModality

We receive information from the outside through the five senses, and one type is dominant for every person. There are audile learners who perceive everything better by ear, tactile learners, and visual learners who remember everything they see. Therefore, if people belong to different modalities, they may face difficulties when communicating.

Fear of contact

The idea that it’s necessary to start a conversation with a stranger, causes a lot of anxiety, which will subsequently interfere with the formulation of one’s thoughts and only strengthen the complexes over time.

Expecting of misunderstanding

The person, considering the previous traumatic experience, begins to anticipate events, that is, they are convinced beforehand that they will not be understood. Such forecasting subsequently prevents adequately assessing the situation. An obsession with one's conviction prevents a person from seeing the real situation. Have you ever paid attention to how people sometimes actively argue and are so passionate about their idea that they do not notice they are talking about the same thing?

Unwillingness to listen and hear

That is, when a person relies only on their judgments, defends them and cannot adapt to change. This is a very serious psychological barrier to interpersonal communication. The inability to listen to other people and unwillingness to learn will lead over time to the deterioration of even the closest relationships, and unwillingness to contact.

Overcoming Barriers to Communication

If you don’t know how to overcome communication barriers, but you understand that it’s high time to do that, then pay attention to the following moments.

  • Do not be afraid to ask questions. If something is not entirely clear or is illogical for you, ask a question. Remember that the concepts of the simplest things are different for everyone. If you formulate too complicated sentences, just think, what does this give you? Ask if a person understands you at the moment.
  • In the case of different semantics and slang, use the same words and phrases, this technique will help you establish contact and break the ice.
  • If you notice some obstacles on the part of the partner, use the active listening technique.
  • Overcoming barriers to communication, train your empathy and learn to accept otherness. Many people need just to feel support and acceptance instead of advice or recommendations for action. The ability to empathize and walk in the other man's shoes greatly simplifies the process of interaction and contributes to overcoming communication barriers.
  • Respect the opinion of another person, it has the right to exist because everyone has their own truth in the same situation.
  • Do not expect much from your partner and don’t forget to be yourself. After all, the fear of non-compliance with expectations provokes anger and anxiety and subsequently causes disappointment. All these feelings do not contribute to healthy and intimate relationships.
  • Receiving information, you should sometimes make distinctions, that is, to separate emotions from facts, leaving emotions and evaluation aside, then it will be possible to achieve objectivity and the correct interpretation of the words said.
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