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Poor Communication Kills / Fan Works

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Avatar: The Last Airbender

Calvin and Hobbes

Castlevania (2017)

  • Turning Point: When a newly sired Lisa is afraid of just how different she will be as a vampire, she phrases it as like being an animal. Taking it personally, Dracula renounces her and then Adrien too when he comes to her defense. it is not until his rage cools down does he realize what he did.

Code Geass


  • In Child of the Storm, this becomes a recurring problem with Harry - he's reserved by nature, and while he initially opens up, his traumatic experiences mean that he isn't exactly eager to discuss the details of what he's been through, save for Carol, and that's because thanks to their psychic connection (which he accidentally created), he doesn't really have much choice. This has a steady negative impact on his relationship with Ron and Hermione, until he's finally persuaded to open up and just talk.
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  • In Connecting the Dots, the Konoha Twelve, who speak authentic Japanese, are dumped into the DCAU, where most of our heroes don't know English. Due to worries of an invasion, aggressive headbutting on either side, and the aforementioned Language Barrier, many battles take place before J'onn comes in and telepathically implants English into the ninjas' heads to let them talk things out.
  • In The Dark Lords of Nerima, the Sailor Senshi think that Ranma and his friends are a group of pan-dimensional conquerors, and the Nerima crew think the Senshi are the anti-youma equivalent of the KKK. This could all be avoided if both groups sat down for five minutes and talked things over with each other. Ranma's delight in pretending to actually be a Multiversal Conqueror isn't helping matters.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the sequel, where Ranma and Akane talk about the failed wedding that took place at the very end of the manga, and decided to try and figure out a way to settle things with the other fiances. Unfortunately, Luna was spying on them at the time, and mistakes an innocent conversation between lovers for a sinister plot to take over the world once again while tricking the Senshi into a false sense of security, and immediately warns Usagi to not believe a word they say. The mistrust between the two sides lasts until the real villains botch an assassination attempt on Sailors Saturn and Mercury.
  • Between Minds has Chell and Gordon Freeman BOTH as Heroic Mimes. This results in neither of them able to explain who they are, what their motivations are, the stakes at hand, who they are fighting or why.
  • Turnabout Storm has a number of examples:
    • Fluttershy tried to call out to Rainbow Dash when she was running away, though being Fluttershy, she called out Rainbow Dash in her whispery voice. Things might have turned out differently had she made her voice louder.
    • Phoenix not being able to explain to Twilight Sparkle why he's accusing Fluttershy at that moment caused more than a few problems.
    • Inverted in Part 3 - Twilight when Apple Bloom lets Twilight know that she saw Rainbow Dash moving the storm cloud to the Everfree Forest, and that RD told her not to tell anypony about it. Had this come out in court, it would have been much more difficult (if not impossible) to extend the trial.
    • Cruise Control went to tell the cops about how something "big" was going to go down in the forest. However, he was in his cocky personality and wasn't taken seriously, and thus the murder happens.
  • In MagicTale Undyne sees two suspicious humans trying to enter the academy in the middle of the night and attacks to keep the obvious villains from harming the students. Agnes sees a monster attacking her and Princess Henrietta and assumes it's taken the academy hostage. They fight for quite some time before Agnes calling Henrietta by her title lets Undyne figure out what's going on. Afterwards, only Henrietta is willing to accept the whole situation was a (mostly) blameless misunderstanding.
  • The Dragon King's Temple uses Linguistic Barrier between SG-1 and the off-world children. They do manage to communicate well enough to fight an Eldritch Abomination who piggybacked on the return travel, but things get ugly when Zuko falls sick from being kept away from the sun by well-meaning caretakers fearing to worsen his condition by exposing him to the outside and refusing to hear Toph while she desperately pleads for them to "let [him] see the sunlight.
    • There is also the initial misunderstanding between SG-1 and Djehuty: each party sent someone on the ice planet, no one came back and when the second teams found each other, they immediately jumped to conclusions and started fighting.
  • In Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters, it's eventually shown that because she never explained that her heartless facade wasn't her real personality, Elyon becomes convinced Cornelia really is a self-absorbed Alpha Bitch. This causes Elyon to develop a resentment of Cornelia, which contributes to their friendship deteriorating as Cornelia becomes more wrapped up in her Guardian duties (which she can't tell Elyon about) and seemingly repeatedly blowing Elyon off.
  • Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: Both major fights come about because of this.
    • While en route to the Human Village to buy supplies for Reimu, Suika was passing by the area where Megas was cleaning house with the mob of giant fairies. She loses the Ibuki Gourd by complete accident, and in her drunken stupor she starts to believe that Coop—who had never met her before—had taken it intentionally. Coop tries to claim that he had no idea what was going on, but this only provokes Suika into super-sizing herself and trying to flatten Megas.
    • During what was supposed to be a friendly meeting between Coop and Yuuka, Megas accidentally kicks Rumia into the Garden of the Sun, breaking several sunflowers. Due to her resulting anger, Yuuka never even tries to figure out the truth behind what happened until after the fight is over: flowers were killed, Megas's crew were the only ones there that she could see, so obviously they must be guilty.
  • In Harry Potter: Pokémon Master, during the protests at the Johto Pokémon League, Koga made a gesture. No one could tell whether it was an order or not, but Koga's guards thought it was an order - and they shot into the crowd, killing 47 people. This was the spark that started the Kanto-Johto War and brought Jack Kenway and the Sons of Johto to the international scene.
  • Subverted in crossover Point Me at the Skyrim. The three times that Victoria has introduced herself to a faction have resulted in her either being attacked or threatened with death due to the way Victoria presented herself (not that she is aware of this). All three times Victoria has successfully avoided conflict by acting passive or in the faction's interest.
  • Infinity Train: Knight of the Orange Lily: Gladion was aware of exactly what caused his sister's Trauma-Induced Amnesia. Unfortunately, he decided that only he could fix everything, and rather than sharing what he knew with anyone, kept Lillie and everyone else Locked Out of the Loop while he embarked on a quest to become a powerful trainer. Upon learning that Lusamine hadn't known about the incident like he'd assumed, he accused her of being a negligent mother, refusing to acknowledge the role he'd played in that. His adventure on the Infinity Train is sparked off by an argument with Lillie over this, where she points out how she might have gotten help years ago if he'd spoken up sooner.
  • With Pearl and Ruby Glowing: Lola was given The Talk about people not being allowed to touch her in bad ways, but no one gave her a clear explanation about what would happen to someone who did, resulting in her making a False Rape Accusation in an attempt to get Lori grounded and actually getting her arrested.
  • When Harry met Wednesday: Dumbledore's tendency to withhold information in general bites him in the ass on several occasions. When two students with Death Eater ties (one who actually IS a Death Eater) are killed, an official tries to paint it as the fault of Professor Tofty (who replaced Dumbledore as Headmaster), saying that Dumbledore would have known to watch them closely. Rather than feeling chastised, Tofty is outraged that Dumbledore knew students had connections to Death Eaters and didn't inform him.
    • Rufus Scrimgeour furiously berates Dumbledore (and Slughorn by proxy) for not coming forth with information that Voldemort might have one or more Horcruxes for over a decade (fifty years in Slughorn's case). Dumbledore insisting Voldemort wasn't dead isn't enough information for them to go on as Horcruxes are too obscure for most to know about. Had the Ministry known, they would have had thirteen years to find Voldemort's Horcruxes and destroy them before he could be resurrected.
    • When Dumbledore and some Order members go after a Horcrux, Dumbledore not telling them about the door that requires a blood sacrifice costs Emmeline Vance her life because Tonks has to wait several minutes for Dumbledore to come and open the door while Vance is badly injured.
    • Eventually Dumbledore's actions cause Moody to disband the Order of the Phoenix and tell those with usable skills to work for the Ministry and the rest to stay home and sit things out.


  • let's go out with a bang!:
    • Miu believes that the rest of her classmates give Kokichi a free pass for all of his casual cruelty while rebuking her harshly whenever she bites back. In reality, this is less a matter of Selective Enforcement and more that Kokichi simply refuses to listen to any chastisement... but since she's convinced that she's being unfairly persecuted, she's reluctant to admit ANY fault. Kokichi, in turn, sees this as ample justification to keep tearing her down and insisting that she's Beyond Redemption.
    • Miu's involvement with the enforcement team makes her classmates increasingly nervous; when she starts asking Kaede if she's noticed anything suspicious, Kaede balks for fear of accidentally incriminating somebody, and responds to Miu's pressing by admitting that they're afraid of her. Miu takes this news... poorly and very personally, and the communication breakdown is underscored by her seizing Kaede by the wrists to keep her from signing any further.
    • When Miu vents to Mondo about the above confrontation, he takes it in the worst possible way, jotting down Kaede's name on a list of potential AHL sympathizers... which doubles as a list of potential sacrifices.
  • In chapter 16 of Everyday Life with Ultimate Girls, Everyday Life with Li'l Ultimates, Makoto Naegi, working as a teacher's aide, is put to work with the Warriors of Hope, and all of them become very attached to him. However, he's able to figure out that something's wrong with their home lives, and works alongside Miaya Gekkogahara, Hope's Peak Elementary's nurse and his grandfather (a judge) to help them out. However, the stress of trying to help their various problems and the reality of the bureaucracy being too slow to help out causes him to repeat the Madness Mantra "It'll all be over soon" in getting them the help they need. Unfortunately, the Warriors of Hope misunderstand what he means, and after another horrible day, they believe he's done dealing with them, and this is what spurns them to commit suicide. When Makoto comes back and sees the suicide note, he's horrified to see them apologize for upsetting them, though thankfully, he is able to save them, and have them testify about their home lives, earning them new home lives free of abuse. The trope is even lampshaded.
    If only they had communicated better, they may have spared themselves some of the pain that was to come.

Danny Phantom

  • This a recurring trope in Facing the Future Series:
    • After a bunch of ghosts try to play Relationship Sabotage on them, Danny and Sam pretend to break up to get them to stop. However, since they didn't tell their friends it was an act (because they were being spied on by the ghosts constantly), their friends thought the ghosts caused the problem and attacked the Ghost Zone. Still, it was Justified because the ghosts were spying on Danny and Sam.
    • Made extremely serious in A Family Thing when Danny's desire to keep Danielle's existence a secret from his family gets them all captured.
    • It works in the favor of the heroes when Walker's isolation means he's Locked Out of the Loop about Sam's new powers, allowing her to escape when he captures her.
    • In Two For One, Jazz worries that not telling Danny that Vlad was up to something may have factored into Vlad capturing him.

Dragon Age

  • The first installment of Skyhold Academy Yearbook has a bit of this. Cullen's the Master of the Mixed Message, which is bad enough, but it's actually Varric who Cannot Spit It Out... and when he finally does, it's completely misinterpreted by the listener. Fortunately, both of these guys have help getting things sorted, and the rest of the series avoids the trope.

Dragon Ball

  • The whole mess in the Dragon Ball fanfic A Jealous Wish comes from people and Bardock (revived via Dragonballs by Goku when he was 13) making assumptions on each other and failing to confirm them:
    • Goku is brought to the hospital after Bardock accidentally injures him. The doctor, seeing the tails, guesses that Bardock is the son of a monkey, knows that Bardock is responsible for Goku's injuries, and starts muttering about special patients and hoping he got the right species (of monkey, but he doesn't say that) while he prepares a sedative (while also being careful to choose one that has no allergy problem, as he doesn't know Goku's medical history). Bardock, who had injured his son without meaning or even knowing who he had thrown into the ground, guesses that Goku being a special patient means that humans have experience in treating offworlders, and, fearing the medicine contains something that could somehow poison a Saiyan, demands to know what the substance in the syringe is. The doctor, not knowing why Bardock asks, tells only it's a sedative, and repeats when Bardock asks again. At this point Bardock decides the doctor is an incompetent who could kill Goku or someone else through his own stupidity and may have already done so, and, given how dangerous an incompetent doctor is in his experience, decides to do the world a favour and kills him, before stealing as much medical equipment there is and trying to heal Goku himself;
    • Why Bardock fears the medicine could poison a Saiyan, a species that is nearly impossible to poison: back in the day, a squadmate of his decided to get high and took alien pharmaceutical drugs without reading the labels, and something in the first drug was toxic enough to Saiyans it killed him practically on the spot;
    • Bardock is trying to heal and feed Goku as best as he can without a regeneration tank before starting him to train for his fated fight with Frieza, and is giving him food he knows is good for a recovering Saiyan and tastes well to them. Bulma, while knowing that Bardock is an alien warrior, knows of the murder of the doctor, that Bardock intends for Goku to fight someone named Frieza (with Bardock having never told why), and that the food Goku is being fed is disgusting to humans, takes all of this as ultimate evidence that Bardock is an abusing asshole, and has Goku kidnapped and brought to her as soon as Bardock is out hunting;
    • Note that Bardock is consciously trying to avoid this, as he asks everything he needs to ask and then some and uses his universal translator to make sure he gets things right (notably, he asks people what labels on something mean until his translator is able to tell him so). This helps him tracking down Bulma's mercs after he loses their trail: he goes to the nearest town and finds out, among other things, that humans educate their children in common schools, so he starts going through the schools to find their families (as he knows their smells) and is lucky enough to find and kidnap the daughter of one of them before they can deliver Goku to Bulma. Also, upon finding the surviving Saiyan who got his message and is coming to help him with Goku is Raditz, he doesn't decide to kill Raditz because he saw him fighting Goku in his visions and knows he could kill him before he's ready, but to explain him things as soon as he arrives to make sure the fight is a spar;
    • The medical department of Frieza's army is equally savvy: as we find out from Bardock's thoughts in the hospital, they have colour-coded their medicines and explained the code to every warrior to try and prevent accidental poisoning from taking the wrong drug on the field.

The Familiar of Zero

  • In Jus Primae Noctis, the author mostly averts this, where in the original series it happened quite a lot, but does it believably. Also, It becomes the base of the main plot, because technically one of the first things Louise canonically did was bring up how her being naked around a servant/human familiar of the opposite gender was no big deal, but it was left at that. If Saito had found out the ramifications and implications, it might have saved some grief these past few years.

Fullmetal Alchemist

  • Abstention has a pileup of miscommunications when the Elrics and Mustang are on a mission and put on rations. Had Edward been less prideful, Alphonse more assertive, or Mustang had thought to let the physician know that his subordinate had automail, which makes a person burn through far more calories than normal, Edward wouldn't have nearly starved to death.

Girls und Panzer

  • Boys Do Tankary has Vincent gets a call from Nyra, a girl claiming to be his sister, then some time later, gets a call from Nyra's mother, accusing him of seducing her, despite Vincent saying that he's dating Saori. Ian asks about the call, and Vincent says "She(Nyra's mom) thought I was in love with her(Nyra), that's not how it is." Saori overhears that one sentence, and runs away in tears, with Ian pointing out how unfortunate it was for Vincent to use all pronouns. Luckily, he clears things up with a simple explanation.

Harry Potter

  • In the Harry Potter fanfic Where Your Treasure Is, a known Death Eater winds up in Australia, and Hermione's parents are killed as a result of her not telling the Order where she'd put them and the Order not telling her that there was a well-known and very vicious Death Eater in Australia.
  • In Her Biggest Mistake Hermione's insecurities lead her to believe that Harry is "settling" for her as a "safe" choice and she needs to put the "if you love something, set it free" cliche into practice. When she tells him that he doesn't really know what love is and should go out and find "the one that's just right for you" he interprets it as a rejection and goes around in a haze until the day he finally gives up the will to live.
  • The Very Secret Diary: An interesting justification. There were moments where Ginny could have told an adult about Tom Riddle's diary, saving herself (and Hogwarts) a lot of anguish. But Tom preempted those attempts, first by playing to her sympathy with a (fake) sob story, and later, when she learns his true colors, by warning her that telling the truth would mean dire consequences for herself and her family, since by that point, she was already committing crimes under his thrall.
  • Where is Hermione? hinges entirely around Hermione never talking with Harry before making a decision that affects both of them. After they make love during the hunt for Voldemort's horcruxes, she oblivates Harry of the event. Then she leaves to New Zealand (despite what she said, she sent her parents there instead of Australia) and doesn't even attempt to contact Harry (or anyone else) for over a decade. When she finally returns to inform Harry he has a daughter, with the hope of starting a relationship with him, Harry wants nothing to do with the woman who left him without a word and stole his child from him. In fact, he's since moved on and is now married with a son.
  • In The Great Manipulator Sirius sends a message which Remus, believing him to be guilty, misinterprets as a kidnapping note.
    I've got Harry at the Leaky Cauldron in room number eleven. Come fast. I am waiting.
  • The Child of Azkaban: Sirius recalls that the only time there were any non-inmate humans close enough to his cell to hear him was when Mr. and Mrs. Crouch went to Azkaban to visit their son. He tried to get their attention when they came so people would know his godson somehow ended up in Azkaban but both of them at first ignored him. On their way out, Mrs. Crouch noticed Harry but her husband shushed her without even looking. Her health was so poor she didn't live long enough to have another chance to tell.
  • Taken Up to Eleven in Silentium est aurum (Silence is Gold). Basically, had it not been for the miscommunication, the Second Wizarding War might have been avoided.
    • Eight-year-old Nymphadora Tonks gets sexually harassed by one of her parents' friends. It's night, she has a fever and the man speaks in a whisper, but she assumes it's Remus Lupin. She bites the man's hand. Two weeks later, she manages to confront Remus, and he assures her he never went near her and it must have been a feverish hallucination. But Tonks is so hysterical that he doesn't understand it was a sexual assault; and worse, she doesn’t mention that the man got into her room through a locked door and she heard squeaking just before he appeared. If Tonks had told him that, Remus could have realized Peter Pettigrew was rotten to the core – and Lily and James could have been saved.
    • It gets even worse. After the deaths of Lily and James and the arrest of Sirius, Tonks sees a photograph from the day after she got assaulted, and Peter's hand is bandaged. She realizes he was guilty all along, but she believes him to be dead anyway and (understandably) can't speak of what he did to her, so she still says nothing to anyone. Therefore, everyone but Sirius thinks Peter a hero, Sirius is imprisoned in Azkaban for years, and later Peter brings Voldemort back.
  • In chapter 14 of Harry Potter And The Rune Stone Path, Luna says that she tried a long time ago to tell Professor Flitwick that she was being harassed by bullies. But she was substituting the word "wrackspurts" for "bullies" and he assumed she was just rambling on about imaginary creatures. Thus overlooked, the bullying escalated until almost every Ravenclaw was either systematically bullying Luna or aiding and abetting it. Professor Flitwick is ashamed of himself for not paying attention.

Hey Arnold!

  • In the Furnace, Sid, Stinky, and Harold accidentally destroy a building with fireworks. After Stinky suggests that they go to the police, he is killed. Sometime later, Arnold himself is killed and his remains discarded of in the titular furnace. However, it is later revealed that the building was empty, having been scheduled for demolition, meaning that the fireworks played no part in the building's destruction.


  • Hivefled: Gamzee messaged Equius and Eridan, the only two members of the gang who he knew would be available to answer, to ask for advice when his mentor started touching him inappropriately. Equius can't imagine not wanting to obey every whim of his superiors, Eridan is willing to use any method to get ahead, and both are jealous that he has such a prestigious mentor, who is also his bloodlink, so they assume he's bragging (trolls having no concept of incest) and refuse to help him. It doesn't really help that Gamzee's dialogue is difficult to follow at the best of times, or that his mentor's actions were so bizarre and random that Gamzee barely knew what was going on either. Admittedly there is little they could have actually done to help, but they assumed he knew what was coming, which he didn't because of a combination of being drugged and being in denial that his mentor would actually hurt him, and didn't warn him.
    • Later in the story, the humans begin to think (from what little the trolls have told them about their past) that Gamzee is an escaped criminal, possibly a rapist, who was justly punished by his ancestor, and the others are helping him. The real situation is exactly the opposite of that, but because Gamzee is still too traumatized to talk about it and the others won't bring it up for his sake, the humans have no way of knowing that. It probably isn't going to end well.

How to Train Your Dragon

  • In Ghosts, Stoick has every opportunity to explain why he's so scared of Drago to the point of forbidding anyone from leaving, but he feels like it's too painful to say. Whenever Astrid asks anyone else who also knew, they all refused under the grounds of it not being their place to tell her. It is not until Stoick refuses to send any scouting parties for Berk to learn what exactly they are dealing with that Astrid finally decide to break Hiccup out of his house arrest with the other rider's help and go confront Drago themselves.

The Hunger Games

  • In fernwithy's These Are The Names from The End of the World series, during the 64th Hunger Games, Haymitch sends his tribute, Nasseh Rutledge, and his ally a shield with a metal surface to use for reflecting the sun so they can communicate in morse code while planning to ambush the career pack. Nasseh mistakenly believes that the shield is a sign to go charging into the career's camp, swords flashing. He and his ally are dead within minutes, and Haymitch is nearly Driven to Suicide as a result.

Jurassic World

  • It's not the Raptor DNA; Elise tried to get help when her sister took ill, but trying to steal one of the worker's raincoats while he was still wearing it led everyone to believe that she was becoming hyper-aggressive and start isolating her even further.

Katawa Shoujo

  • Iwanako, the main character of Mean Time To Breakdown, is a Stepford Smiler who copes with problems by bottling everything up and claiming she's fine when she's really not. This problem is both caused by and feeds into her strained relationship with her family, creating a Vicious Cycle of negative feedback. Her parents and brother neglect to consider how she feels, making her think that they won't care even if she complains, so she bites her tongue. Since she doesn't complain, they think she's coping alright and continue to go about business as usual, reinforcing her belief that they don't care. And on and on...

The Legend of Zelda

  • FFS, I Believe in You: Narrowly avoided at the end. When Isolda announces that Gerald will be the new king, a group of lizalfos instead try to convince her to take the crown instead. Isolda refuses, and the disagreement almost leads to a civil war starting then and there... until it occurs to Gerald to point out that he was the one who found the Zora's Sapphire, which confers authority to lizalfos kings. This quickly defuses the issue and is met by exasperated groans from the others, as they only got there after he had passed the gem to Isolda, and the general sheepishly admits that she should probably have led with that to begin with.

The Loud House

  • In No Such Luck, No Such Love, the Loud family knew that Lincoln lied about being bad luck compared to what actually happened in canon, but they forgot to tell him that this was the reason they excluded him from events and made him sleep outside, and he thinks that they really believed him about being bad luck as a result. It isn't until Chapter 17 that the Loud parents realize that Lincoln was never told about it, and when Lori tells him the truth in Chapter 19, he's not happy about it in the slightest.

Love Hina

  • A considerable amount of the conflict in An Alternate Keitaro Urashima stems from the fact that Granny Hina attempted to manipulate Keitaro into taking over the Inn. She refuses to explain just why she's so dead-set on this; as a result, by the time she's willing to give him so much as a HINT as to what her true reasons are, he's long past the point where he's even remotely willing to cooperate.
    • In addition, the whole subplot with Ryuichi and Ogi could have been avoided had the latter confessed to his friend that he wasn't entirely innocent. Although it should be noted that Ogi HAD explain what happen but Ryuichi refuse to listen when Ogi did and still continue to not listen.

Lyrical Nanoha

  • The Lyrical Nanoha fanfic Game Theory has a rather massive one, when Chrono assumes that Nanoha is working with Fate and attacks her in her home, which is a major factor in Nanoha deciding to actually help Fate fight the TSAB.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

  • In Count Dracula-Man, the Avengers go after Spider-Man because they believe him to be a vampiric serial killer, while Spider-Man fights the Avengers because he thinks they want to stop him from fighting crime, with both parties saying things that are just vague enough for the other party to think they're correct in their assumptions.
  • The main theme of There's Always Enough Blame to Go Around is that pretty much the entirety of the "Civil War" happened due to Tony and Steve not communicating with each other and the rest of the Avengers properly. The two biggest examples given being Tony not explaining to Wanda that she needed to lie low after the incident in Lagos and Steve refusing to sign the accords then leaving suddenly without explaining that he just learned Peggy died. For the former situation, Tony's therapist points out that he shouldn't have been involved at all and should have let the lawyers explain things to Wanda. Regarding the latter situation, Steve's therapist explains that simply refusing then leaving without explanation makes it look like Steve is completely unwilling to discuss the Accords at all.

Mass Effect

  • In Mass Effect's Crucible, A LOT of bad things in the alternative future could be avoided if people are just willingly to ask for help from others instead of trying to keep silent and solve it by themselves. Hell, even a little warning could make a huge change in some tragedies that had happened! Alt.Garrus could be an expert in these regard.
    • For example, if Alt.Garrus had decided to share his pain over Shepard's "death" with someone else (namely, his father), he wouldn't have to "blow off steam" with Perdita and setting up a chain of disastrous events.
      • Alt.Garrus could have explain about his continuous breaking of promises to Gaius, but instead he just assumed that the child could endure it a bit more because he understood that his father's absent was due to his work in building a better future for Gaius and his hybrid kind. Sure, an adult can understand that but not a six-year-old who's been going through abuse from his schoolmates and stepmother. By the time Garrus realized his mistake, Gaius's already had the idea that his father hated him and he was a bad child.
    • Or Alt.Miranda could have ask Victus or Liara or any of her friends for help and protection to avoid Cerberus, but she just decided to give Tiberius to his father and ran away by herself to be bait, wanting to have control over her own destiny. The result: she was tortured and degraded in absolute horror that continued way beyond her death by Cerberus once they caught her. Her son grew up and became a broken, regretful man with self-esteem issue and screwed up a lot of things in his life.
    • Or Alt.Atilius could have warn Alt.Garrus about Alt.Perdita's issue with children, but nope, he decided to give her the benefit of doubt and shut his mouth about it, leading to her "incident" with young Alt.Gaius when Garrus left the boy in her watch.
  • In The Fourth Council Race, the First Contact War starts because a turian patrol spotted some human ships in an uninhabited system and blew them up immediately, assuming them to be smugglers, without even trying to make contact. Afterwards, humans send a small ship with a first contact package but the turians assume it's some sort of cyber attack and ignore it. Even once they realize they're dealing with an unknown military rather than smugglers, the turian leadership decides that communications can wait until after the battle against them.

Mega Man

  • In Mega Man Reawakened, it's revealed that Dr. Light wasn't designing weapons, but his pride and Robert's led to a falling out over the matter.

Miraculous Ladybug

  • In Powers of Invisibility, Adrien sends Juleka a text message reading, "Can you meet me at my house? Like, now?" Juleka assumes it's Chat Noir related and probably urgent, and is rather annoyed when he just wants to hang out and play video games - as he explains, "I’m a busy person. I have time now, but I might not later." While Juleka chides him for not being clearer, she later makes the same mistake when she sends Marinette and Adrien an SOS without explaining that she just wants help preparing for her first official date with Rose. Both assume an Akuma attack and both converge on her apartment in costume, though Juleka is able to respond to Chat's private cell phone in time for him to change back, and distract him when Ladybug arrives at her window, so she can tell her to change back.
  • The entirety of Hawk Moth's plight in Bitter Hearts, Lonely Smiles is based on this. When his wife suddenly disappears he and Adrien assume she's dead, and Gabriel reacts by tracking down and stealing both the Butterfly and Black Cat Miraculouses, the idea being to use Akuma attacks to draw out the holder of the Ladybug Miraculous and have Adrien as Chat Noir steal it so they'll be able to wish mrs. Agreste back. Turns out she was part of an organization dedicated to capture and eventually destroy all Miraculouses to prevent misuse and left so suddenly because Gabriel would have tried to stop her had he known, and never contacted them until she comes for the Miraculouses in Paris for fear the organization's enemies would harm them. When they find out, Gabriel and especially Adrien are obviously devastated that everything they did was All for Nothing, with Adrien all but denouncing her as a mother.
    • Marinette and Adrien have started dating even as they fight each other in their secret identities, with Ladybug outright hating Chat Noir in both her identities (and only considering giving him a chance as a person after Chat Noir saved Marinette from a mugging), but after mrs. Agreste's return to Paris causes Ladybug and Chat Noir to detransform before each other their relationship obviously suffers. They confide to their respective friends... But Marinette felt so betrayed and unable to trust Adrien she gave Alya a rather biased version of the facts, leading to her and Nino all but breaking up.
    • A few hours after Alya and Nino's fight, Adrien sends Marinette a desperate SMS begging for forgiveness for everything, surprising Marinette to the point she doesn't know what to reply... And when she's about to do so and take him back, Adrien, embittered by a sleepless night, sends her a message saying "disregard my previous message" and starts acting with her as Chat previously did with Ladybug just to keep her from feeling she has won (something she didn't anyway). By the time Nino and Plagg get through him and make him realize how he's acting, Marinette is so angry that his attempts at making peace only make her confused and angrier-especially when they both try and make each other jealous at a ball, to the point that mrs. Agreste and her organization attacking the place to seize their Miraculouses genuinely helps them.
    • Mercifully Averted when Gabriel calls Adrien during the dance: at first Adrien, angry at his father for both having him commit crimes for years for basically nothing and the last Akuma almost getting him drowned (he had to be saved by Ladybug), doesn't take the call, but when Gabriels calls again and again Adrien realizes it's not like him and takes the call, thus getting the warning of the impending attack, just in time for him to warn Marinette and avoid him and his father getting blamed for that.
  • A number of fics resulting from a Tumblr prompt involve the premise of Marinette, having seen Chat Noir detransform, finding the courage to confess her love to Adrien and even admit she's Ladybug, but fumbling it so badly that Adrien assumes she's lying without even trying to confirm it. Most of the stories have had no real conclusion, but nearly all of them have put any possibility of a relationship between them in jeopardy, including one continuation in which Ladybug puts off revealing herself for as long as she can for the sake of their partnership, and by the time Chat forces the issue months later by insisting on detransforming in front of her, her feelings for him have completely dissolved and she's ended up in a relationship with Lila.
  • The crack fic There's Something About Marinette is based on Chat Noir hearing Ladybug's praise of Marinette and Marinette's praise of Ladybug and concluding not that they're the same person but that they're in love-and thus starting a chain of progressively crazier misunderstandings, that do not end when Chat Noir discovers the truth.
  • The kid fic I Saw Mummy Kiss Chat Noir has this as its central conflict. Emma (Marinette and Adrien's daughter), who doesn't know her parents are superheroes yet, sees Marinette kiss Adrien while he's disguised as Chat Noir and draws what she feels is the logical conclusion. She also refuses to tell Adrien what's going on (because she doesn't want to break his heart), leading to him worrying that he's being a bad parent to her.
  • The entire conflict of Truth And Consequences hinges on this on two different levels.
    • Obviously, the plot of the story (which basically boils down to "Ladybug betrays Chat so she can save Adrien") only works because of the show's Mutual Masquerade, and the only person who knows both identities - Master Fu - falls into a Convenient Coma due to unrelated heart troubles early on.
    • On a deeper level, it gradually becomes clear that a lot of the conflict stems from resentments that both heroes held and built up for years, but never bothered talking about: Ladybug feels like Chat doesn't take their role as heroes seriously, leaving her shouldering all the weight by herself, pointing out that all the times he heroically took a hit for her left her fighting the latest Akuma alone. Chat on the other hand, believes that she and Master Fu have been keeping him Locked Out of the Loop because they don't trust him - he was the last one to be told about the Guardian's existence, and he's never been allowed to know the other heroes' identities. Once the two started fighting over what to do with Hawk Moth, those resentments came bubbling to the surface and made the whole thing worse.

My Hero Academia

  • Heroes Never Die: Discussed. During the combat trial, Bakugo was paired with Hagakure as the villain team. Since she's invisible, he ordered her to defend the objective while he went on ahead to attack the enemy (Jirou and Kirishima). Without her around he didn't have to worry about his wide area of effect attacks, and he targeted Jirou first because her Super Senses were the best counter to Hagakure, so if Kirishima managed to take him down Hagakure should be able to handle Kirishima on her own. They won, but since Bakugo didn't bother telling Hagakure any of this, the class assumed he was just an asshole who thought she was useless, and Hagakure admits she almost abandoned her post to attack the enemy and "prove him wrong," which would have been a disaster. Aizawa tells Bakugo to pay more attention to his leadership style, and Bakugo actually takes it to heart.
  • King (MHA): Shouto and Izuku misinterpret Katsuki's reluctance to explain just what U.A.'s lawyer Fujimori was 'helping' him with as him being completely complicit with the cover-up. Shouto, in particular, is pushed past his Rage Breaking Point when he assumes that Katsuki's insistence that everything's been taking care of is him gloating about getting away with it.
  • Origin of a Non-Hero has this as a running theme. Izuku mistakenly assumes that his son wants to follow his parents into Pro Heroics, when Shikinori wants absolutely nothing to do with the business after seeing how much damage their attempts to balance Family Versus Career did to everyone involved. Their relationships improve after a therapist encourages them to share their feelings with each other more, and Shikanori's bond with his father takes its biggest blow when Izuku jokes about how easily he could become a receptionist at his agency if he 'doesn't want to crunch numbers'. Despite the fact that Mathematics was Shiki's favorite subject, and he was studying to become a math teacher.
  • In the Sleeper Hit AU, Midoriya takes a much dimmer view of U.A. and everyone connected to it after Aizawa expels him for 'failing' his Quirk Assessment Test, casually outing him as Quirkless in front of the whole class. When Ochako tries reaching out to him afterwards, she calls him 'Deku' without knowing the meaning of that derisive nickname. However, he assumes that she was aware, and that she's no different from his childhood bully. By the time she's able to contact him again, they've all graduated and become Pro Heroes, and he assumes she only wants to 'make amends' for the sake of networking.
  • The aptly-named Unforeseen Consequences deals with Recovery Girl's declaration that she isn't willing to heal any of Izuku's injuries from training mishaps anymore. While she meant to discourage him from pushing himself too far, Izuku misinterprets this as the same sort of reluctance his past teachers showed when it came to him: not wanting to waste their time on a 'useless student'. This causes him to misinterpret his other teachers' behavior towards him in much the same way, and his desperation to prove himself and avoid being a burden leads to him attempting to deal with a broken wrist on his own.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

  • The entire basis for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Twilight's List. Twilight Sparkle launches off into an extremely long-winded explanation about how she thought about who would be the perfect match for a practice date, but Rainbow Dash, being tired and used to Twilight Sparkle going on about stuff she doesn't care about, tunes her out. At the end of it, however, Twilight asks Rainbow Dash out... which Rainbow Dash thought was Twilight legitimately asking her out on a date out of the blue.
  • This is the actual name of a chapter in Families, wherein the use of this trope in Spike's storyline comes to a head — his refusal to talk to Twilight about why he feels so guilty, along with making the Cutie Mark Crusaders promise not to tell anyone, leads to him running away rather than confront his problem.
  • A Brief History of Equestria: During the Lake Trot Crisis/Celestine Civil War, a message meant for loyalist General Haymaker instead ended up in possession of General Downpour, who ended up launching an attack that claimed the life of her friend and fellow rebel General Torrent. When she realized what she had done, she killed herself.
  • Subverted in A Delicate Balance: A case of Gossip Evolution leads Rainbow Dash to believe that Fluttershy is developing romantic feelings for Twilight, and she rushes off to inform Rarity and Pinkie of her discovery. Rather than believing her, Rarity traces the rumor back to its source and immediately realizes how far off it is.
  • In The Ballad of Twilight Sparkle, Applejack and Rainbow Dash have a drunken fling; afterwards, the latter avoids the former because she fears that Applejack's feelings were not genuine. Applejack tries to track her down, and asks Rarity to tell Dash (while Dash is secretly eavesdropping) that "she's not that kind of mare". Dash is naturally heartbroken. It's not until they have a direct confrontation several chapter later that Applejack clarifies things: she's not the kind of mare to love 'em and leave 'em, and genuinely wants to continue what they started.
  • In RealityCheck's Nyxverse's Nightmare Night and Nyx story, Spell Nexus tried to inform Luna about a defense mechanism built into the former Nightmare Moon castle, but Luna apparently fell asleep multiple times trying to read the memo. He probably should have followed up on that(but considering he was still getting over being Brainwashed and Crazy, it's a bit easier to understand why he might have forgotten).
  • Episode 9 of the second "season" of My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic sees a Changeling almost escape due to an argument between Lightning and Starla. The argument was caused by Starla overhearing Lightning remark about how Pinkie Pie's brownies turned out "skinny as pancakes," a description that she assumes applies to her legs. To make matters worse, Starla refuses to talk to Lightning or let him explain himself for much of the fic.
  • It's right there in the title with Misunderstandings, where a language barrier prevents both the ponies and the human protagonist can't discern each other's motives due to both a language barrier and the latter's poor treatment at the hooves of an evil circus ringmaster.
  • D Reincarnation: Glacier, the Brigadier of the Fruit Brigade and Aokiji's reincarnation, is fiercely protective of Twilight Sparkle, Nico Robin's reincarnation, due to the ties they shared in their past life. Now that the World Government is out of the way, Glacier sees their second lives in Equestria as a chance to fulfill the wishes of his deceased friend Saul, which he couldn't in their previous lives. Unfortunately, Twilight's very protective older brother, Shining Armor, assumes that Glacier's own protective instincts are because he has romantic feelings for her. This animosity has gone on since the day Glacier and Shining have met, eventually culminating in a sparring match (which was originally supposed to be a duel) in Chapter 20. It isn't until Chapter 26 do they finally clear the confusion.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: The Royal Sisters discuss this and go out of her way to subvert it in chapter 8 of the sequel Diplomat at Large. When a notification was sent out to Lyra Heartstrings about her wife, they made sure to include a mark on it that would be recognizable as a sign of good news, so as to avoid causing her to think it was a Death Notification.


  • In Dreaming of Sunshine, Shikako comes up with several plans to fight Zabuza and Haku. Unfortunately, she forgets to tell them to her teammates. Fortunately, none of them actually die.
  • In A Political Perspective, Sakura is nearly killed by an escaped prisoner because Sasuke believed it to be another of Kakashi's tests. After saving them, Kakashi makes clear that he will never use methods as part of their training.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

  • Advice and Trust: Discussed. During a heart-to-heart talk, Shinji and Asuka realize that they had been distressed and upset for months because they were unable to spit their feelings out clearly: Asuka was unable to say out loud she liked Shinji, so she dropped subtle hints, Shinji never got them, she thought that he was uninterested rather oblivious because he never said he liked her, she got mad, Shinji believed that she hated him because he drove her mad...
  • In Thousand Shinji, Rei was unable to open up to Shinji and Asuka and tell them plainly that she wished having a three-ways relationship with them. So she tried to get them drunk to sleep with them, leading Asuka to think Rei was trying to steal Shinji. Asuka beat the crap out of Rei, Rei got furious with her teammates, and everything went to Hell because they didn't work together.
  • A Crown of Stars:
    • Shinji and Asuka's inability to open up to each other without miscommunication or misunderstandings was cause of most of their troubles before and after the end of the world. They often wonder what could have happened if they had managed to understand each other.
    • The Avalonian army was trapped in Earth and cut off because Rei couldn't -or didn't want to- understand that Shinji and Asuka were together now and they were getting along well. Several people tried to explain the situation to her, but Rei refused to buckle and stop blocking the dimensional door.

One-Punch Man

  • This is the basis of the One-Punch Man fanfic Enemy Number One: the only witness of one of Saitama's early heroic jobs mistook him for the perpetrator of the City Y Massacre, in which 200 people were killed, instead than the one who disintegrated the monster responsible, and the Hero Association labeled him as a criminal without bothering to verify the information-or Saitama even noticing he was being labeled a criminal. Heroes then started interrupting his training in the vain attempt to apprehend him.
    • It culminates in chapter 14, when Saitama, having grown weary of the weirdos that continuously attacked him, went to the Hero Association's headquarters to demand they leave him alone and pay the repairs for the door they broke last night, gets the director to agree... Then Tatsumaki, Bang and Drive Knight arrive, see he has beaten up about all other S-Class Heroes except for Child Emperor and Blast, about the entire A-Class and the whole Blizzard Group before managing to come in, say he started this, and attack.


  • In We Are All Pokémon Trainers, Caitlin's Sigilyph notices Alder's eyes glowing briefly while he speaks to Caitlin, who is starting to lose control of her psychic powers because of 'M. Realizing that Alder may be controlled by 'M, Sigilyph tries to warn Caitlin's other Pokémon. Unfortunately, said Sigilyph happens to be The Unintelligible.
  • Done literally and Played for Drama in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines when Belladonna arranges the death of Aurora's father. Aurora didn't actually want him to die but was afraid Belladonna would leave her if she spoke up. Word of God confirms that Belladonna would have stopped if Aurora had told her she didn't want her father to die.

Real-Person Fic

  • In-character poor communication: In With Strings Attached, because the four detest the Hunter and get into a pissing match with him as they travel, they don't tell him crucial things about their worldview, notably that they're Actual Pacifists and don't kill, and that they can easily protect themselves. Thus, when they're set upon by a pack of Poison Wolves, the Hunter immediately springs into action and kills about half of them, causing Paul to nearly attack him and to have a Heroic BSoD later, partly because he knew very well that their lack of communication both doomed the animals and almost made him a murderer.

The Rising of the Shield Hero

  • Iwatani Naofumi - Bitchslayer: Motoyasu's party is almost killed in a dungeon because he doesn't bother to share any details with them. Since there's no monsters present and Motoyasu is apparently wasting time lighting every candle along the way, his party members get bored and start blowing out the candles. It's only after Motoyasu opens the treasure chest at the end that they learn those candles were to keep away the monsters. Malty is subjected to Mind Rape with everyone she remotely cares about telling her how much they hate her, until her party manages to kill the monsters doing it.

Rosario + Vampire

  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • In Act II chapter 29, after explaining the rules of the Eia Dreahl to the rest of the group, Kokoa specifies that the first girl to give Tsukune a nosebleed wins and that the loser would have to forfeit Tsukune to the winner forever under penalty of death, but not that the pact was only meant to be between herself and Moka; thus, any girl who gives Tsukune a nosebleed can claim him for her own, an opportunity that Yukari is quick to seize.
    • In Act IV chapter 20, Astreal informs the boys that Kokoa "wants" them, failing to specify that she wanted them to watch how far she could push her overcharge; the boys end up thinking she wanted the entire group to have an orgy, with Gin actually stripping down on the spot.


  • Discussed in Silver Rings and Golden Hearts. Summer steals Qrow's phone and jokingly texts to James a romantic text as Qrow. When James mentions trying to set boundries, Qrow replies that it's a moot point and there's not much Summer could do besides "give us a bad movie plot about miscommunication".

Star Wars

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

  • Cat-Ra: It turns out the story is closer to canon than it initially appeared, as Adora was still intended to become She-Ra with Catra only meant to deliver the sword to her. Unfortunately, Catra is so antithetical to the values of the role that Light Hope is unable to properly tell her about this until Adora's heart is so darkened that she's not worthy anymore.

Steven Universe

  • In Faded Blue, Rose and Pearl have a difficult time communicating. This becomes a plot point when Rose ignores Pearl's suspicions about Greg on the assumption that Pearl is jealous of the attention Greg is getting. The author has even commented that Pearl and Rose genuinely care for one another, but are just really bad at communicating their feelings.
  • Red Sadie: In Ruby Stars, Amethyst is so mad at Pearl and Garnet for lying to her that she convinces the others not to tell them they're going to Rose's Foutain to heal Kay's gem and put it back into Sadie. Sadie ends up passing out from the strain, and they have to go to the Sun Incinerator so Peridot can resuscitate her.

The Seven Deadly Sins

Teen Titans

  • The Teen Titans story Coincidence And Misunderstandings is kicked off by Raven assuming that her team would ask if they want to know more about her and the Titans assuming that Raven would tell them if she wanted them to know.


  • Touhou Ibunshu: Remilia Scarlet indulges her inner Large Ham constantly by waxing her disdain of God to her younger, mentally unstable sister. End result: Flandre gets the idea that God is going to punish them both essentially for existing, and decides not to give Him the chance to do so... by nuking Gensokyo.
  • In 'Touhou: a Glimmer of an Outside World Reimu was suspecting Yukari in making the rift in the sky, and Yukari was thinking Reimu's new costume is Evil Costume Switch. Once they start to "communicate," they dug themselves deeper in each other's eyes.

Warhammer 40,000

  • Happens multiple times in Tales of the Emperasque. The Emperor often forgets to mention that he's now a giant space lizard, which makes many a men open fire on him because they think he's a daemon. Once he almost had a nuclear warhead on his head because of this. He also does it to other people, like that time when he dropped Jaghatai in the middle of army base without notifying anybody, leading to Jaghatai almost being shot for trespassing.
  • A Space Marine Scout informs the All Guardsmen Party that a Tyranid Assault Flier is headed their way, expecting them to stand their ground and shoot it down like Space Marines would. Unfortunately, because he didn't say what to do, the Guardsmen naturally take cover and the Scout is taken out shortly after by said Flier.


  • In Veritas Odit Moras, a series of miscommunications leads to Taylor suffering a second trigger.
    • Taylor (who is independent hero Weaver) arranges a temporary alliance between herself, Armsmaster and the Undersiders to take on Hookwolf. During the fight, Grue becomes gravely injured. When Panacea comes, she decides to heal Grue just enough to let him survive, just because he is a villain, and Taylor protests - prompting Panacea to believe Taylor is a villain.
    • Later, Armsmaster suggests that Weaver do joint patrols with the Wards (as part of their hope to establish a rapport with her), and Gallant and Vista are assigned to meet with her: Gallant then messages Glory Girl (offhandedly mentioning a VIP outreach) to see if she wants to join, and Glory Girl brings Panacea.
    • Glory Girl and Panacea arrive to the meeting point before the Wards and find a waiting and disguised Taylor, texting on a phone: Amy tells Victoria about her previous encounter with Taylor, the girls presume Taylor is keeping watch while the Undersiders rob a shop and Victoria attacks Taylor, nearly killing her. The sisters ignore Taylor's attempts to explain the truth, and they essentially torture her to find where the Undersiders live. Amy then heals her enough that she won't die and, instead of waiting for Gallant to come (which could have helped explain the situation), Victoria decides to drop Taylor in a dumpster which she then bends so Taylor can't get out - incidentally recreating the event that caused Taylor to trigger. When the Wards arrive, Taylor is in such a panic that she can't tell them what's going on and they ignore her pleas for release, sparking her second trigger.
    • The end result is Taylor having to undergo extreme surgery to save her life, Gallant and Vista being heavily reprimanded for their actions and both Amy and Victoria forced into the Wards and punished for their actions - and that was after Taylor decided to heed Director Piggot's plea (that, heroes being already outnumbered by villains, losing the Dallon sisters will cause further trouble) and not have the whole book thrown at them.

Yuri!!! on Ice

  • Rivals Series
    • The whole mess between Yuuri and Viktor's rivalry starts when Viktor tells a young Yuuri that Yuuri needs to lose weight if he wants to become a skater. Viktor meant it as genuine advice but since Yuuri was already a skater, he took it as a rather cruel jab at his weight.
    • Viktor knows that Yuuri dislikes him but he doesn't know why since Yuuri never explained it to him nor in his interviews. He didn't realize how much Yuuri hates him until they started sleeping together.
    • Yuuri and Viktor believe the other will leave them when they get bored because Yuuri barely learned to tolerate Viktor while Viktor learned to finally be careful with how he says things.


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