If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten.   ~ Tony Robbins, Author

When things are not going the way you want, do you keep repeating the same response or behavior but hope for, or expect, something different to happen? This is what I call being in a communication stuck state cycle. It’s when you repeat the same conversation over and over again and feel like you are going in a communication circle.  You are having the same conversation and the outcome never changes – over and over.

A communication circle happens when we think we are clear, and we repeat ourselves each time the same conversation comes up, but we’re not getting the results we want. The behavior or response isn’t changing.

Sound familiar? We all do it. Often, the cycle makes us angry and we eventually end up in conflict.

How to Get out of a Stuck State Cycle

To get out of the stuck state cycle merry-go-round, you must respond and react differently. Rather than responding to a situation in an unconscious and automatic way, try responding in a conscious and accountable way.  You can do that by being specific and clear in stating what you want and why.

Let’s say you repeatedly state that you need help on a household chore.  You say it in the same way, and the response you get back is always the same. Instead of repeating yourself continuing to ask with increasing anger, try asking in a new way.

Small Changes Often See Big Results

For example, Instead of an automatic response such as: “You didn’t load the dishwasher again,” take a short pause and respond in a different and more accountable way. For example, “I need you to load the dishwasher each night before you do your homework, so that the dishes are done before we go to bed.”  Sometimes changing the way you ask by giving a bit more detail and the reason for the request is all you need to do.

Break out of the stuck state cycle

Think of at least one situation that has you in a stuck state cycle. If you are responding in an automatic way, try this: Pause, and think about what how you can change the way you respond in a more thought out, respectful,  and accountable way. What could you say to be better understood?

Now, do that.


Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transform your life at work and at home, 52 Communication Tips, and Gladie’s Gift – all are available on Amazon.com.  To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit cornerstone-ct.com.