How To Avoid Miscommunication In Your Relationships

Is there anything more frustrating than someone who either doesn’t know what they’re feeling or who isn’t willing to communicate those feelings when you’re in a relationship? It’s like, come on dude — we’re adults here. We can’t waste time on a non-starter teenage relationship where one of us gets uncomfortable and ghosts the other. Let’s introduce some basic dialogue and respect, okay? To that end, here’s how to avoid miscommunication in your relationships.

  1. Don’t be vague. Let’s be real here: We know how we feel. Or, if we lack the language to articulate it, we know what our gut is telling us at least. If your partner is making themself vulnerable by asking you what’s wrong or sharing what their thoughts are, don’t leave them hanging. That’s not just not expressing yourself, that’s creating an unequal dynamic in the relationship. Communication takes effort and lots of listening. No one is born a perfect communicator. Make sure you look out for ways you might have inherited some of those habits of your parents that you always complain about with your siblings. Self-awareness goes a long way.
  2. Work on yourself. If you want to avoid miscommunication in relationships, this step is vital. This isn’t an airy-fairy, stereotypical millennial-at-therapy thing here. This is your life. Relationships are hard enough as it is if you’re both working hard to meet each other’s needs. But you can’t do any of that or develop any of these skills when you don’t know yourself (or when you don’t try). We won’t magically overnight know ourselves just through sheer force of will, nor will we by doing nothing. Avoid miscommunication by focusing on aligning your own feelings and figuring out what you want. That way you can be clear in telling your partner what you need and it will encourage them to do the same. Trust goes a long way.
  3. Know your attachment style. This is a slightly more manageable form of the above advice. If going on a permanent, intense self-love journey seems a little overwhelming at the moment, why not approach things in a slightly less abstract way? How about your love language – what is it? What’s your partner’s? Learn about all the different ways one can communicate or emote and that will help you understand each other. You might be having an argument but be saying the same things. If you’re confused, you won’t see the signs. We’re not meant to be mirrors of each other, but you have to identify what makes your partner tick. If you don’t know, ask!
  4. Unpack your emotions. Relationships involve two people: you and your partner. Neither of you will be the sole provider of happiness for the other, but you also do represent a significant portion of their lives. That’s a value in that. This means that you owe it to them and to yourselves to get to know yourself. Pick one emotion apart from the rest. Tick them off as you feel them. Journal and write things down. You might be able to see trends or find the source of your feelings and that will help you manage them in the future. This will make it way easier to avoid miscommunication in relationships of all kinds.
  5. Reflect on previous arguments. Remember all those times you’ve listed ‘strong critical thinking skills on your resume?’. Well, this is the time to cash them in and apply them to the practical world. Think about regrets you have in previous arguments or times that you or your partner overstepped. How did that make you feel? How did they respond? By discussing these things and having these hard conversations you can engage with the difficult things and embrace the good.
  6. Clarify your feelings. If, in one of these arguments in the past, you’ve stormed out and grunted in disgust and left your partner alone in the room, think about how that might have made them feel. Did you ever explain what was making you irritable and upset? Did it eventually spiral into an argument that neither of you could explain? These irrational arguments are easily avoided, and if you just recognize what each other’s boundaries and trigger points are, it saves a whole host of heartbreak in the future. Don’t let yourself be taken for granted — tell him what you need and be bold.
  7. Really focus on developing good communication skills. It’s 2023, do I really need to say this again? You’re a grown adult who’s trying to have a mature relationship. That cannot happen without clear, honest, and consistent communication.
  8. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. This is a golden rule in all relationships. Doesn’t it just sound so simple? Sometimes you learn enough about yourself that it all just makes a little more sense.

This is really a skill that I recommend everyone dedicates a few minutes a day trying to think about ways they can communicate more intentionally. Reflect on how you can bring value to the relationship rather than ambiguity, and how you can reassure your partner and assert their needs. This will help you avoid miscommunication in your relationships majorly.

Hannah has a Masters degree in Romantic and Victorian literature in Scotland and spends her spare time writing anything from essays to short fiction about the life and times of the frogs in her local pond! She loves musical theatre, football, anything with potatoes, and remains a firm believer that most of the problems in this world can be solved by dancing around the kitchen to ABBA. You can find her on Instagram at @_hannahvic.