What are past centered comments? Focusing on the past destroys effective communication

Past centered comments are comments that focus on what has happened in the past rather than focusing on what is happening at the moment, or the issue at hand. We’ve all run into people who seem to live life through the rear view mirror, and spend time hasning and rehashing what has happened, something that is beyond all of our control.

If you focus on the past, you will be seen as obstructing useful conversation, and the other person will start to think your goal is not to solve a problem NOW, but to attack others, make yourself look good (it doesn’t work), or serving some other destructive agenda. Not to mention the other person will realize you aren’t helping.

Some examples of past centered comments:

We tried that before and it didn’t work

Why can’t we do it the old way?

You didn’t get your report in on time (note that this combines a past-centered comment with a person-centered one, a double whammy).


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