What Is a Communication Breakdown?

A communication breakdown occurs when communication is incomprehensible to one party or entirely absent between two people. For example, communication breakdown occurs when a couple fights and then refuses to speak to each other, according to Psychology Today.

Otherwise known as “the silent treatment,” refusing to communicate is one of the most common forms of communication breakdown. It usually occurs when two parties disagree or when someone says something offensive or hurtful. There are several ways to help fix or avoid communication breakdown. In instances where one party is simply having difficulty understanding, slowing down verbal communication or attempting to explain problem areas are two ways to ensure communication breakdown doesn’t occur. When two parties are fighting or disagreeing, sometimes an apology or admittance of wrongdoing can fix a communication breakdown, according to Daniel L. Shapiro. When one person tends to takeover or control a conversation, communication breakdown can occur because the second party doesn’t actually have the chance to communicate. Be sure to ask the other person how he is doing, what he has been up to or what’s new with him. If someone else is controlling the conversation, try letting him know that he is dominating the conversation.