Miscommunications happen when someone says something that wasn’t meant literally.
This commonly occurs between friends, and many of them have been affected by miscommunication because they don’t know how to resolve it — resulting in broken friendships.
Here are real-life examples of miscommunication between friends from professionals that we can all learn from:
Table of Contents
- Misread a text or assume a tone that is not intended
- Unread text, email, or a missed phone call with no response
- Growing in different directions
- Distancing themselves because of having a different perspective
- Sense of one person not being enough
- Different views and principles
- Using the wrong expression
- Misinterpretation of the undertone
- Written vs. verbal
- Poor speaking skills
- Use of jargon
- Guy issues
- Misinterpret a text message
- Frequently Asked Questions
- How does poor communication affect friendship?
- How can miscommunication between friends be resolved?
- How can friends prevent miscommunication from occurring?
- Is it normal for friends to experience miscommunication at times?
- How can I better understand my friend’s perspective during a miscommunication?
- Can miscommunication be a sign of deeper issues within a friendship?
Dr. Jaclyn Gulotta, PhD., LMHC
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Choosing Therapy | Qualified Parenting Coordinator, Qualified Clinical Supervisor
Misread a text or assume a tone that is not intended
In the current technology times, communication can be taken out of context. Friends can misread a text or assume a tone that is not intended.
Minor miscommunications are likely to happen, yet there should be open communication to resolve any misunderstanding.
Unread text, email, or a missed phone call with no response
Examples of miscommunication may be an unread text, email, or a missed phone call with no response. Having a conversation without asking for clarification can cause miscommunication among friends.
Listening with the intent to respond rather than active listening and bias or negative assumption and interpretation can create miscommunication between friends.
The best way to navigate through any relationship is to be open and honest and to share your emotions at the moment. Creating healthy boundaries helps your relationships by keeping the communication direct and precise and establishing trust and confidence.
- Nonverbal cues
- Body language and tone
- Written vs. text
- Listening vs. speaking
Relationship Coach, Relationshipping101 | Author “Life Worth Living: A Practical and Compassionate Guide to Navigating Widowhood and Sole Parenting“
Growing in different directions
All relationships go through a similar cycle, from chemistry to casual to committed. When the friendship is new, it is in the chemistry phase. Everything is novel and exciting as you get to know one another and share experiences.
It seems like everything is euphoric and lined up between you and your new friend. As you get to know one another and share experiences, you move through to the “casual” phase of the relationship.
You look forward to knowing how your friend will respond to things in this phase. You also enjoy anticipating what will be expected and routine.
There is another aspect to the casual phase. This is the stage where we start to identify behaviors and traits we don’t care for in our friends. This builds a more profound relationship as you synchronize and appreciate every day in the friendship.
Distancing themselves because of having a different perspective
This is when we decide to distance ourselves from someone because core values are not aligned, political views are inconsistent, or you simply grow in different directions.
If these are not red flag-dealbreakers, the green light moves the friendship into a deeper, more committed friendship.
At this point, the relationship upgrades to a tighter friendship through the triad of communication, trust, and respect, and the cycle continues as you share life experiences. Two of the three need to be strong enough for the relationship to survive when one is broken down.
Sense of one person not being enough
When there is a miscommunication between friends, such as a rejection, sense of one person not being enough, ghosting, there is some misaligned expectation.
Often, suppose the relationship holds a level 10 value, and the miscommunication is a level 1 challenge. In that case, I suggest utilizing the obligation Richter scale to put things into perspective and increase respect.
Breaking a long-term friendship, level 10 value, over the volume of the television, level 1 challenge, suggests there was a deeper problem that was not being communicated.
Increasing communication to build trust, which, over time, creates respect. Another helpful tip when bringing up difficult (potentially relationship-ending) topics, for example, is stating what you would like the result of the communication to be.
If a promise is broken, one must rely on communication and respect to rebuild the trust.
All relationships flow from chemistry to casual to committed, and they grow through communication, trust, and respect. Miscommunications between friends can be repaired by addressing these important connectors.
Words can hurt, but giving a silent treatment could be worse in a relationship, especially if we’re talking about friendship. Whether you speak or not, you can break someone’s feelings as long you don’t put effort into explaining it.
Also, we can’t blame the message sender alone since sometimes there’s a gap between a receiver’s comprehension. That’s why relationship experts like me believe teamwork is not just for doing physical activity.
It’s also crucial to include it internally, especially with the communication between friends.
To know more about miscommunication between friends, here are some examples below:
As a friend, you already get used to joking around with your conversations. However, everything has changed as you get older, so jokes are annoying and taken seriously by the receiver. It puts your communication and friendship into awkwardness.
Different views and principles
You and your friends have their own beliefs, which sometimes put you into an uncomfortable situation that eventually leads to miscommunication. Also, pride and poor listening with each explanation set your friendship into a test.
Using the wrong expression
It’s not intentional, but the things we express ourselves influences the words we let out to our mouths. That’s why it’s crucial to link our conversation appropriately to our emotions.
Misinterpretation of the undertone
Sometimes the other person may mean something else, but you may misinterpret it and think they are taunting and insulting you. A typical example would be, “You look like you are enjoying your work” or “Good for you.”
You might not mean any ill to the other person, but the other person may not see it that way.
Written vs. verbal
Many miscommunications can happen when you are talking to your friend via text. You may be talking about a serious issue close to your heart, but since they might not know how to respond, they may respond with a GIF or an emoji.
This can infuriate the other person and can cause profound misunderstanding.
Poor speaking skills
If you are not very articulate with your words, your friend may have a hard time understanding what you are trying to say.
Use of jargon
Don’t use jargon that your friend is unfamiliar with. Try and be to the point to ensure this doesn’t happen. If you use words such as “like” and say “you know what I mean all the time,” then you may need to improve your speaking skills.
Lingos and slang can sometimes be difficult to understand, so avoid them until you are sure that your friend understands them.
Dr. Kira Capozzolo
Doctor of Chiropractic, Twin Waves Wellness Center
Most of the miscommunications I have seen and experienced stem from guy issues. One friend doesn’t communicate to the other friend how serious they are with that guy.
Naturally, with big groups of friends hanging out, people can develop crushes or feelings for multiple people in the early stages. I’ve had huge blowout arguments with friends over a guy we are both emotionally interested in.
Not telling their friends that they are over to a guy they used to date
Another major miscommunication involving guys is when women don’t express to their friends that they are over a guy they used to date.
Understandably, they may not even know that they have these feelings. However, it can lead to conflict and hurt feelings if these feelings aren’t communicated to your friends.
Founder, Yoga Kawa
Misinterpret a text message
One instance occurred while texting. She had texted me something very serious, and she felt that my response was too casual and dismissive.
She didn’t respond to my texts in the days after that, and she even canceled our plans. When I inquired what was wrong, she said she couldn’t believe my answer to a text she had sent.
It was only then that I explained to her that she had misunderstood my text. That is one of the issues with electronic mail.
We have very little to go on without facial expression, tone of voice, and gesture to assist us in figuring out what the other person is trying to say. We often “fill in the blanks” with our typical fears and assumptions in the absence of these clarifying signs.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does poor communication affect friendship?
• Misunderstandings and misinterpretations: When friends don’t communicate effectively, it’s easy for them to misunderstand each other’s intentions, emotions, or thoughts. This can result in confusion and hurt feelings, potentially leading to arguments or unnecessary tension in the relationship.
• Emotional distance: Poor communication can cause emotional distance between friends. When individuals don’t express their feelings and thoughts openly, developing a deep emotional connection becomes challenging. This lack of connection can cause the friendship to become superficial or even fade over time.
• Lack of trust: Trust is a vital component of any friendship. However, poor communication can make it difficult for friends to trust one another, as they may not feel heard or understood. This lack of trust can hinder the growth of the friendship and even lead to its demise.
• Increased conflicts: Inability to communicate effectively can lead to more frequent conflicts and disagreements between friends. If not resolved through healthy communication, these conflicts can create resentment and bitterness, damaging the friendship in the long run.
• Hindered personal growth: A strong friendship is a source of support and personal growth. However, poor communication can prevent friends from giving each other constructive feedback, sharing valuable experiences, or offering emotional support. This can limit the potential for personal growth within the friendship.
How can miscommunication between friends be resolved?
Resolving miscommunication between friends involves a few essential steps:
• Acknowledge the misunderstanding: The first step is for both parties to recognize that there has been a miscommunication and express a willingness to work through it together.
• Listen actively: Both friends should take the time to listen to each other’s perspectives without interrupting or getting defensive.
• Seek clarification: If something is unclear, ask open-ended questions to better understand the other person’s point of view.
• Take responsibility: If you’ve made a mistake or contributed to the miscommunication, own up to it and apologize.
• Find a resolution: Collaborate on finding a solution that works for both parties and consider what can be done to prevent future misunderstandings.
How can friends prevent miscommunication from occurring?
Preventing miscommunication in friendships involves being proactive and intentional in your communication habits. Some useful strategies include:
• Practicing active listening: Pay attention to what your friend is saying and make an effort to understand their point of view.
• Choosing words carefully: Be mindful of your language and tone to minimize the risk of misunderstandings.
• Checking for understanding: Periodically summarize what you’ve heard to ensure that both parties agree.
• Being open and honest: Encourage open lines of communication by sharing your feelings and thoughts, even when it’s uncomfortable.
Is it normal for friends to experience miscommunication at times?
Yes, it is completely normal for friends to experience miscommunication occasionally. Even the strongest friendships can encounter misunderstandings, as no one is perfect in their communication skills. The key is to recognize and address these instances quickly and effectively, using them as opportunities for growth and strengthening the relationship.
How can I better understand my friend’s perspective during a miscommunication?
To better understand your friend’s perspective during a miscommunication, try the following techniques:
• Put yourself in their shoes: Consider the situation from your friend’s point of view and imagine how they might feel.
• Ask open-ended questions: Encourage your friend to share their thoughts and feelings by asking questions that invite elaboration.
• Listen without judgment: Be open-minded and withhold judgment while listening to your friend’s perspective.
• Reflect on past experiences: Consider past situations where you’ve had similar misunderstandings to identify patterns and learn from them.
Can miscommunication be a sign of deeper issues within a friendship?
Miscommunication can sometimes be a sign of deeper issues within a friendship, though it’s not always the case. Occasional misunderstandings are a normal part of human interaction.
However, if miscommunication becomes frequent or patterns emerge, it may indicate underlying problems such as trust issues, unaddressed resentments, or conflicting values. In such cases, it’s important to have open and honest conversations to address these issues and work towards resolving them to strengthen the friendship.
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