Communication is one of the most important skills a person can possess when it comes to maintaining a healthy relationship. Most people are aware of this fact. Unfortunately, not everyone is very good at putting that piece of information into practice. Some people refuse to listen to their partner regardless of how important they know it is to communicate well. Others truly try to be open with their significant other but are utterly incapable of getting their point across clearly. Either one can be absolutely infuriating to deal with on an ongoing basis. Thankfully, you can spot communication red flags in a potential partner and know that the relationship is doomed.
When looking for communication red flags, take a good long look at your own habits especially if you have had multiple relationships fail due to a communication breakdown. The problem might not be in your partner. It might be that you are a poor communicator if you do any of these things.
Monosyllabic AnswersAnyone who has ever tried to solve a problem with other people has probably run into the dreaded monosyllable. You are trying to figure out what is wrong, but your partner simply keeps glaring at you and saying, “yes,” “no,” “fine” and “whatever.” You are practically ready to tear your hair out, and your partner simply refuses to help you even understand what is going on in the first place, much less help you fix it.
Monosyllabic answers during arguments tell you that your partner is unwilling to actually discuss issues like an adult. They either expect you to read their mind and be able to mystically understand exactly what you did to tick them off, or they are refusing to meet you halfway on a problem and are punishing you by refusing to talk. It is petty, childish and unproductive, but people still do it all the time. You might well do it yourself. If you have this habit, break it as soon as possible. You and your partner cannot fix any issues if you refuse to address them, and no, a single word answer is not addressing a problem.
Sarcasm“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence.” Humor is largely a subjective experience, so you may or may not agree with Oscar Wilde’s comment on sarcasm. When it comes to dealing with a partner or potential partner, however, sarcasm is not a form of intelligence at all. Arguments with a significant other need to be done rationally and with mutual respect. Sarcasm in and of itself is not problematic, but toss it into an already combative atmosphere and you may as well have dumped a lit match in a room full of nitroglycerine.
Sarcasm can be funny when everything is light hearted, but when it is used in an argument, it is cruel. Your words or your partner’s words become bitter, cutting and hurt beyond measure. People also feel a bizarre sort of need to rise to the bait when someone becomes sarcastic. Rather than defusing the situation, they fight back. As such, sarcasm only belongs in an argument where your express goal is to so enrage the other person that they are seriously considering punching you in the face.
Passive AggressionEveryone loves it when people get passive aggressive. It is condescending, sarcastic and opaque all at once. Much like sarcasm, it encourages the other person to dig their heels in and drag out the argument for as long as physically possible rather than working to come to a reasonable solution. Also like sarcasm, those who become passive aggressive are likely to find those around them getting passive aggressive right back. The end result then is two people dancing around an issue with biting pseudo-politeness for days on end and never solving the problem that would likely have taken all of 10 minutes to address.
Explosive AngerAnger is a natural emotion and not something to be ashamed of feeling. It is not, however, a good thing to have in a relationship. If your partner acts out with sudden, explosive anger, especially if that anger is accompanied by a violent reaction like punching a wall, you need to leave the relationship. Explosive anger is impulsive and can be violent. This is the sort of anger that is likely to lead to a person lashing out without thought and hurting someone they love.
If you are the one with a temper, you need to get help. No one wants to deal with a partner who goes from calm and quiet to screaming in rage at the drop of a hat. All you are doing is hurting those you care about and likely yourself as well. If nothing else, you are shooting yourself in the foot by driving away those you love.
Little is more important in a healthy relationship than good communication skills. As such, it is only to your benefit to weed out potential partners who are giving off relationship red flags. In the event that you are the one who is a poor communicator, examine what exactly the problem is and work at addressing it. If you always interrupt people, practice holding your tongue when you go out with friends. If you are sarcastic, learn to gentle your words. Unlearning bad communication habits can be difficult, but it will be worth the effort to no longer drive your loved one up the wall when they want to talk.