Keep your communication above the water line.
This one is a bit cultural, so you may have to contextualize.
Some background might help though in understanding cultures. Culture, we often see as a geopolitical thing. Tribes in Africa, countries in Europe, regions in America. Barbeque versus Vegan type thing.
But culture goes deeper than that. Organizations have their own cultures, schools have their own cultures, teams have their cultures. Marriages have cultures.
Too often, communication goes below the line. Like an Ice Berg, the reality is not what is seen. And then the games begin. Everyone becomes a shrink, trying to figure out the real meaning of what we are saying, judging every nuance and inflection. Every eye lift and head tilt.
The problem is that we are often poor cultural interprets. Case in point? In the USA, eye contact is a sign of respect. In Tanzania, eye contact can be seen as a sign of disrecpect or even other less savory things. Simple, above the line communication makes life so much easier to decipher. Just say it.
Say it gentlely. Be Nice. But everyone loves a straight talker, as long as they aren’t an angry straight talker. Just saying…