How to Avoid Sending Mixed Messages. Mixed messages can get you into trouble and hurt the recipient. A mixed message is a message that says one thing and means another. Everyone does it at one time or another, but it takes a strong individual to avoid sending mixed messages. The following steps will help you prevent sending mixed messages.
Talk to people face-to-face. An email or a letter can send a message that you do not intend to send because tone and inflection of the voice can't be heard. Besides, the sender can't tell how the recipient is taking the message. Talking to people face to face can alleviate this problem. You can see the reaction and hear the response to what you have just said.
Ask what is wrong. If you are talking to someone face-to-face and then see a reaction you were not expecting in response to your words, ask what's wrong. Listen to the person's response and don't jump in and stop them from expressing how they are feeling. Avoiding mixed messages is all about true communication. It is about hearing each other out and not talking at one another.
Clear up any misunderstandings immediately. Once you have listened to the criticism about what the person just heard you say, apologize for sending that message and explain what you meant.
Avoid saying dumb things. This is a hard one because we are not as guarded with our tongues as we should be. Watch what you are saying. If you just met someone, do not be as sarcastic as you would with a lifelong friend. If you know the person has a sore spot for certain subjects, be gentle. Don't tease them or carry on about the subject.
Keep the lines of communication open. Make sure the person you are communicating with understands you and your openness. Let them know that you want to hear their feedback and to know that you won't be offended if they point out any communication confusion. Usually when we know someone, we know where they are coming from or what they are going through that may cause them to say certain things. If we know one another well, we can avoid sending the mixed message.
End the relationship. This is drastic, but when all there is a mixed message, it may be time to call it quits on the relationship. Many times someone may think one thing is going to happen when you are nowhere near that understanding. If the mixed messages get too far, call off the relationship to avoid sending more mixed messages.