Avoiding misundertstandings

01-10-2011 08:44:00

Some people are better communicators than others. Communication is something we all need to learn and improve on, because it’s an essential part of any healthy relationship.

Communication is very complex. We may hear things incorrectly, or misinterpret the message.

It is important when communicating with your partner that you:

  • are clear about what you want to communicate
  • convey your message so that it can be received and understood as you want it to be.

It is also important that your partner:

  • hears your message accurately
  • understands what you mean.

Misunderstandings can occur at any stage and this may lead to hurt, confusion or anger. It is important to guard against distortion and make sure that your message is heard by your partner without them feeling attacked.


  • being aware of how you are feeling about your partner at the time. This can influence how you communicate
  • using ‘I’ statements like ‘I am sad that you decided not to help them out’, not ‘You never want to help them’
  • checking with your partner about whether you have understood their message accurately before continuing.

Communicating isn’t just about words – your tone of voice, facial expressions, body language or even your silence communicate as much, if not more, than the words spoken.

‘I have to work away from home a lot and one night my partner started crying saying I was not at home enough. I responded ‘What would you like me to do? I am prepared to leave my job but it’s going to be hard to find another one.’ She replied ‘I don’t want you to do anything! I just want you to listen and hear what I’m saying!’ As a guy I tend to jump to trying to find a solution. It’s easy to forget that listening is often the best place to start.’ Barry, 35

This article and many more can be found in the "Renovate your relationship" booklet

Tags: relationships communication