Relationships: Communication is Key (I know it's cliche, but it's true)
Updated: May 1
When I was about 17, I was invited to dinner with a friend of mine and her family at a fairly expensive restaurant. She and I arrived first so it was our job to get a table. A hostess looks at us and asks "wine list?" I had never been to this restaurant and for some reason I thought the lady said "wineless?" Kind of like 'smoking or non?', but wine instead of cigarettes.
I knew her family didn't drink so I immediately said "yes." My friend gives me an odd look, but I can't figure out why she looks at me that way until we sit down and our waitress hands me a small menu. "Here's your wine list." I was so confused but quickly realize my mistake and begin laughing really hard. I explain to my friend that I had misheard her and she laughs with me. This was an honest mistake that thankfully had a hilarious consequence, but this isn't always the case.
There are important factors that can "make or break" ANY relationship. Among these is communication - which to me, in my mind and from experience - is the MOST IMPORTANT factor. You may have issues with your partner, family member, friend, etc, but if you don't talk about the issues you're having with them, how will you solve anything? You can try and sweep it under the rug, but it's better to get it out in the open. Communicating with someone about why you're upset is so much better than assuming they know what the problem is.
Confrontation is different than communication. Do NOT be confrontational or this may (probably will) backfire. For example; if I communicate to my partner about how I would like it if they helped out more around the house, I might say "Hey,[insert partners name], I have been feeling very overwhelmed recently with the amount of cleaning that needs to be done throughout the house. I really appreciate everything you do as well but I could really use some more help. Do you think you could maybe take out the trash and unload the dish washer today? That would be so helpful and I would really appreciate it." If you decide not to say anything to your partner and just continue to do all of the house work by yourself, you may begin to resent them. This resentment can build up and before you know it, you have so much pent up anger that you lash out at them (confrontation) and, in turn, they become defensive.
This is not what you want (at least I hope it's not) for your relationships. I only gave a couple of examples, but miscommunication can be a big problem and can happen so easily to anyone in any given situation.
Be aware of issues surrounding your relationships and be honest with yourself about whether you are being an effective communicator.