We had a young construction worker over these days, who did some stuff around our house. A couple of days back, my partner and I made a trip to the town to get some supplies. Soon after we came back, the construction guy came and asked me in a hushed tone if my partner was angry. (Spoiler: he wasn’t.) I thought he said “hungry” instead of “angry”, so I said: “I’m not sure… but I certainly am!”
I could see his eyes getting big, so I checked quickly and we clarified it easily. Years back, I probably would have dismissed it as unimportant or would have been too shy to ask. I imagine many arguments start over similar kind of misunderstanding, when people don’t notice or don’t react to non-verbal communication. Wise of our construction guy to check if his presumption was right, too!
Soon your family will probably gather for Christmas holidays and you’ll have much more free time to communicate than in most other days. Pay attention to small details. Happy holidays!