You were supposed to be one of the best couples. You thought that everyone would say that you are the best couple. The couple that everyone should take as an example. But suddenly, something feels absolutely wrong. You try to ignore it, but talking with your partner gets harder and harder with each day. And no, the problem is not that one or both of you suddenly experience speech disorders. You constantly fail to understand each other. You get angry because your partner fails to understand something that goes without saying. It always was like that, so why the hell you should waste your time explaining something that is common knowledge for you! Funny enough, but most likely, your partner feels just the same. In the end, you start growing colder and colder towards each other. Your conversations are brief. You try to avoid talking too much as well as avoid things in which you can misunderstand each other. While it should have felt okay, you get more and more irritated with each other. Well, folks, congratulations, you are experiencing a thing, which is known as miscommunication!
What is Miscommunication?
So, in case if you are still wondering, “What is miscommunication?” you can always check out in your dictionary, which, most likely, would give you such description: miscommunication is a failure to get the message. Another possible variation is the lack of clear communication. Miscommunication can happen almost everywhere, from having problems with understanding each other at the shop or at work to political miscommunication, which can often lead to dire consequences. Considering that you can easily meet it on such high and low levels, it makes no surprise that you can face miscommunication in your romantic life. While it is okay when you experience a slight texting miscommunication. Like when you’ve meant something romantic, but it came out dirty, and your partner got offended. Such a problem can be easily solved. But when you feel that you can’t explain the way you feel or what you think to your partner, that’s when you are starting to have problems.
Why Do You Need to Combat Miscommunication?
“So, what? Ain’t no big deal! If he/she doesn’t understand me I will find another one!” that’s something that may cross your mind after reading that. Well, in this case, there is really no need trying to solve the issue, as you care neither for your partner nor for your relationship. It may seem okay, but the problem may lay in you and not in your partner. Which means that you are going to face the same problem over and over in each relationship you are trying to build. Besides, running away from the problem is never an option, as the more you run, the faster your problems run you down. It’s just like with your job. You quit one job because your boss was a jerk. You quit another job because your boss was a jerk. You quit the third job because they didn’t value you as an employee. But in the end, you come to the realization that something might be wrong with you.
If you cherish your relationship or the comfort that they bring you, you really need to think about combating miscommunication. As we’ve already said, you may try avoiding uncomfortable topics in your conversations. The one where you don’t seem to find common ground. But such a strategy never lasts. So, it is better to take actions to solve your miscommunication problems.
The Root Causes of Miscommunication in Relationship
Before figuring out how to combat miscommunication in a relationship, there are a few things that you need to sort out. The very first thing is to realize the causes of miscommunication. You would be glad to hear that there is one single root of miscommunication, so you won’t find yourself learning material that equals the Oxford Dictionary in its number of pages. The main reason behind miscommunication in a relationship is “It goes without saying” attitude, which is sometimes referred to as “I’m sure it was obvious”-effect. We can confuse you a bit by calling it signal amplification bias, as psychologists do, but why would we?
To give you an example. Do you remember that guy or that girl in high school who had a crush on you and was stalking you all the time? You know, the one whom you were too afraid to say that you didn’t like them, and you ended up shouting it in their face after months of being stalked? And after that, you could receive threats that they were going to commit suicide because you had denied their love? Well, that’s the typical example of “I’m sure it was obvious”-effect. You were sure that it was obvious for them that someone like you would never love someone like them. But even if it was obvious for you, it wasn’t obvious for them. The same goes for your nowadays romantic relationship. You have got used to yourself, and you don’t think that there is something you should explain to your partner, as “It goes without saying.”
It goes without saying that you don’t pick up the phone when you don’t feel like talking. It goes without saying that you are getting home late when you don’t feel like coming early. It goes without saying that you don’t wash the dishes. It goes without saying that you are not going to accept your partner’s friends. But it doesn’t. You need to talk to be heard. That’s why you were experiencing all those clashes with your partner.
Examples of Miscommunication
We’ve figured out the causes of miscommunication, and before we start talking about the ways on how to avoid it, let’s have a look at types of miscommunication. We’ve already mentioned some of the examples of miscommunication in everyday life, now let’s concentrate on examples of miscommunication in relationships. We are not going to talk about gender miscommunication, as a cultural approach to male-female communication is a bit outdated nowadays. Actually, we would have avoided lots of problems if we realized that the main reason for any communication is our different individuality and not sex. So, let’s have a look at the most typical examples of miscommunication in romantic relationships without any further ado.
1. Don’t Go to The Cave
Now, it’s not the title of some old grindhouse horror movie, it is something that you need to tell your partner before you are going to enjoy your alone time. We all need some alone-time, and that it is obvious. However, if you need some alone time, and you don’t want to be nagged by your partner with their “are-you-okay’s,” telling them that you need some time alone is the best option. Moreover, provide them with some extra information. Basically, say something like, “I am a bit tired, I can get grumpy, and I don’t want to say anything bad to you. I need some alone time to recharge myself, and I would be really grateful if you won’t interrupt me.” Now, that’s a simple, although a bit sketchy variant, of what can you say to your partner before you retreat to your cave.
Now, let’s have a look at the typical “Don’t Go to The Cave” scenario. You need some alone-time and that goes without saying. Your partner is confused, thinks that something is wrong with you and starts asking you questions. After being fed-up with their are-you-okay’s and are-you-alright’s you get irritated and start a fight. It ends with scandal when both of you are offended, and it is really hard to bury the hatchet and make peace afterward. That’s why picking the first option is way better.
2. The Blame Game
After you get irritated you start yelling at your partner for not understanding obvious things. It goes without saying that you need alone-time. It goes without saying that you don’t like talking about your work. It goes without saying that you are having sex only when you’re up to. It goes without saying that you won’t pick your partner from work when you are tired. It goes without saying that you are not going to spend the weekend at your partner’s parents because all you want to do is sit on the couch and watch Netflix.
But the road in this arguing is quite slippery, as it doesn’t go without saying. Because there is no manual for you. You need to communicate. You need to peak if you want to be heard. It doesn’t work unless your partner is a telepath.
3. You or your partner often raise your voice when arguing
Arguing in relationships is normal. It helps us find a compromise and learn more about our partner’s needs and values. But when someone of you (or even both of you) start yelling from the very first minute of your discussion, it means you can’t maintain a healthy dialogue or there’s a more serious issue in your relationship. Such miscommunication in relationships examples like inability to keep cool and serious when discussing something important mean that you had to practice more in communication and learn to express your thoughts, needs, and feelings more clearly.
4. Assumptions and speculations
We cannot read other people’s minds, and even when we are in a long-lasting relationship, we can’t be 100% sure in our partner’s thoughts. Moreover, we are all different, and we all express love in different ways. Imagine this brightest examples of miscommunication in relationships: a woman is deeply in love with her partner and she wants to feel the love in return, she needs her man to be emotionally involved completely by kissing, hugging her, by giving compliments. But she never said it to him. She expects him to love her the way she wants, but she never thought that different people express their feelings in a different way. As a result, she takes offenses and thinks there’s something wrong with him, he doesn’t love her. What a rich ground for future conflicts…
5. Giving small gifts instead of solving problems
It’s easier to pay off with a bouquet of flowers or cute jewelry after a fight or to distract your couple from a yesterday fight by taking them to a romantic dinner. But pausing a problem will only make it worse in the future. Furthermore, it is a signal that your significant one simply doesn’t know or doesn’t want to have a serious talk. Remember, giving gifts is just a ritual, not an act of communication.
How to Avoid Miscommunication
Now, after we finished with those miscommunication examples (yep, there are only two of them), we can finally get to the point when we discuss how to avoid miscommunication in a relationship.
1. Ditch Selfishness
The very first thing that you should do on your way of avoiding miscommunication is ditching your selfishness. If you enter a romantic relationship, you need to make certain compromises. Your selfishness is the root of your “It goes without saying”-attitude. If you care for your partner, you need to be able to understand them.
2. Start Talking
When you don’t like something or when you feel upset about something, take a deep breath and tell your partner about it. Stop thinking that your partner must understand you telepathically, it doesn’t work that way. Start talking to your partner, and you will see that you start experiencing lesser and lesser communication problems.
3. Express Empathy
Mind that your partner has feelings too. Let’s take a look at the “Don’t Go to The Cave” situation, if you forgot to let your partner know that you need some alone time, and, as a result, you are on the verge of scandal, take a deep breath (and your partner’s emotions in consideration as well) and say something like, “I understand that you care for me and I really appreciate it, but I need to have some alone time right now.” That will help you avoid the scandal and show your partner that you care for them, and not locking yourself away from them without taking into consideration them.
4. Erase “It Goes Without Saying” from Your Vocabulary
After everything above-mentioned, we come to a simple conclusion that you should erase “It goes without saying” from your romantic relationship vocabulary. It won’t affect your personal space, and it won’t affect your life in a negative way. But it will provide you with a lot of benefits. It will provide you with a deeper understanding with your partner. If you will erase “It goes without saying” from your everyday life vocabulary, you will face fewer problems at work and in all other aspects of your life.
Yes, the reality is harsh and, unfortunately, the world is not inhabited with telepaths that can easily figure out what you are thinking. You can’t count on telepathy when your baggage is lost at the airport. You can’t count on it when you are not ready with the case at your work. And you can’t count on it when you are in the bad mood for no reason, and your partner wants to provide you some support. And the sooner you will realize it, the lesser problems with miscommunication you will face. So, ditch this phrase.