The Comprehensive Guide to Barriers to Communication


In our everyday communication, we face different barriers that are preventing us from receiving the message or perceiving the information properly. They can be of different origin and influence our regular communication in various ways. These unforeseen or unpredicted obstacles may even interfere with our relationship and the atmosphere inside the couple or in marriage. That is why is it always vital to understand that each of us translates the information in their own way, and the art of finding lingua franca is extremely useful in any relationship. In this article, we are going to shed light on the questions, "What are communication barriers? How to overcome them according to science?"

types of barriers of communication

What Are the Barriers of Communication?

The psychological obstacle of different origin, which the recipient sets on the way of undesirable, tedious or dangerous information, is called a communicative barrier.

Such barriers may arise because of the lack of understanding between the participants in communication on the basis of social, political, religious, professional differences. This misunderstanding appears due to different attitudes, world outlook, or psychological state in general. Barriers to communication may arise due to the individual psychological characteristics of those who communicate (distrust, insult, suspicion, etc.).

Communicative barriers can be caused by various reasons. Therefore, one can distinguish the following types: barriers of understanding, cross-cultural communication barriers, and barriers of communication concerned with relationships.

Types of Communication Barriers

Content barriers are about the problem which lies in understanding the content and the value of a sent or a received message. They are divided into the following subtypes.

  • Phonetic barriers are about the use of elements from other languages and dialects;
  • Semantic barriers are about the insertion of various content or the use of jargon;
  • Stylistic barriers are about a discrepancy between the language of the communicator (sender) and the message content;
  • Logical barriers are about various logical systems of evidence;
  • Individual barriers to communication are problems associated with individual peculiarities of thinking or work that can be determined by physical disabilities, illnesses, and skills in receiving and communicating information.

Sociocultural barriers are about a different level of development of social intelligence, they are connected with humanity as a group and its hierarchy.

Interpersonal barriers are about the problems of the psychological climate, the system of values and negative attitudes of the participants of communication, the lack of interest of participants in the communication process to each other and to the message. Organizational barriers are about problems associated with the remoteness of the participants in the communication process from each other. They are about divergences in the sphere of power, authority, and status of persons who communicate as well as about the property of information, ineffective feedback, the unsatisfactory structure of the talk and information distortion.

overcoming barriers to communicationEconomic, geographical and time barriers are about problems of time and money resources, different locations and the impact of time to receive a message.

Problems of channels and means of dissemination of information are about an overload of communication channels, the problem of conflict between ways of transferring information, for example, is it better to deliver the message personally or in writing?

Cultural Barriers to Communication

The so-called sociocultural barriers are closely related and dependent on the traditions of social clusters. They are caused by a different level of development of social intelligence. They are divided into the following subtypes.

  • Ethical barriers are about the discrepancy between the rules of conduct of the head and subordinate;
  • Role barriers are about interpretation of a message from the position of "leader" or "subordinate";
  • Barriers to perception are about different outlooks.

Intepersonal Communication Barriers

This type is, probably, the most common one in a relationship in a couple. These barriers can often arise when people have different opinions on the same topics due to their experience and life position. In this situation, the individuals can have a similar cultural or academic background, so the misunderstanding is not caused by outer factors. The problems caused by interpersonal communication barriers may vary from little quarrels connected with the lack of attention of one of the interlocutors to big altercations based on the personal traits difference.

Psychological Barriers to Communication

When we talk about this type of barriers, they are especially important in relationships and communication between partners. Because when one of the two people engaged in relationships meets barriers to effective communication in marriage, their partner suffers too. Manipulation (used by one of the partners) as well as mental disabilities (that give rise to emotional barriers to communication) and even regular misunderstandings (on the base of common duty tasks), can all grow into problems in personal life. Later we will talk about how to overcome communication barriers. But to begin with, let’s dive into the category of barriers that can be most often applied to the relationship – the psychological ones.

Avoidance. It is a type of barriers to effective communication when there is an avoidance of sources of influence, a deviation from contact with a partner, in which any communication becomes impossible at all. Having identified a partner as dangerous in some aspects, a person simply avoids communicating with them, or if it is impossible to evade completely, such a person makes every effort not to accept their message. The "protection" is very noticeable even on the first date because a person is careless, they neither listen nor look at the interlocutor, and constantly find an excuse to turn away and use any reason to stop the conversation. Authority. The next one of the types of barriers of communication lies in the fact that having divided all people into authoritative and non-authoritative, the person trusts only the first one and refuses to communicate with the other. Authoritative people are in complete trust of such a person. But to all others who have been denied authority, the person won’t show any trust, and therefore what they say is not of any significance. In a relationship, it can mean that your partner will ignore your advice or intention to help because they believe you are simply not qualified or experienced enough in some aspects.

Incomprehension. It is far from possible to always determine the source of information as dangerous, or unauthorized and thus to protect oneself from undesirable effects. Quite often, some potentially dangerous information for a person can come from people whom they trust. In this case, the protection will be a "misunderstanding" of the message itself. It can be illustrated by a partner's pretending or genuine misunderstanding of any information you mentioned. In the first case, they can pretend they don't understand what you are talking about when the information is unpleasant for them, and they prefer to forget about it.

External barriers and internal barriers are some other obstacles to information that threatens the strong reorganization of all human perceptions and its behavior not connected with the person’s inner world. They can be illustrated, for example, by communication barriers in the workplace. It is important for all people to be able to communicate in such a way that they are properly understood, listened to and heard. Therefore, it is important to know how to overcome the barriers.

On the basis of the analysis of the types of existing barriers in communication, we can draw the following conclusions. Protection from the influence of another person in communication may take the form of avoiding, denying authority or a source of misunderstanding or it can depend on some external barriers not connected with the person.

Overcoming Barriers to Communication

overcoming communication barriersRealizing the importance of listening and knowing what problems may arise if not paying attention to what the interlocutor says, it is possible to distinguish six basic rules, the observance of which will ensure overcoming communication barriers. The ability to listen to means:

  • Ability to give the interlocutor the opportunity to speak.
  • Ability to react to words of the interlocutor patiently and with compassion.
  • The ability not to exacerbate the conversational features of the interlocutor.
  • Ability to take into account cultural, personal, or any physical barriers to communication.
  • Ability to follow the main points of the interlocutor and understand the main content of their words.
  • Ability to avoid quick conclusions, not to react to emotional manifestations of the interlocutor and ask questions.

Here are the basic rules that will help you succeed in overcoming barriers to communication in your relationships.

1. Do not seek unilateral benefits

You will be too boring as the interlocutor if you think about yourself, about your problems and about your profit in all situations. Since our partners also have their own problems, news or ideas, it is important to listen to them carefully and respect their opinion.

2. Interact with your partner

To do this, you have to talk so that the partner notices your attention and continues their talk. At the same time, try to catch their point of view and see the problem with their eyes. The appearance of interest from the interlocutor can be achieved by recognizing their importance or the importance of their desire. The action of this admission is that the basis of the behavior of each person is the desire to be dignified and fairly valued. If you do it, you will find a way to the heart of any interlocutor.

3. Show exceptional attention to your interlocutor

Ask questions for which you can get the full answer. Please address the person by their name. Every person gets gladder when they hear their name.

Naturally, when dealing with a large number of people, remembering the names of all is very difficult. Therefore, to better remember the names of the people you represent and get over personal barriers to communication, we must remember the three basic laws of your memory.

  • The law of impression. The brighter and stronger the impression is, the faster and better you will remember the required information.
  • The law of repetition. You can remember anything you want if you repeat this stuff many times.
  • The law of associations. For more effective memorization we need to link the information with another factor that will help recall the source data.