Styles of Communication

I’m not sure where I’m going with this commentary but I have had enquiries about past posts I’ve written in regard to communication in relationships. One of the common themes I’m hearing is not the lack of communication but the style of communication. There seems to be some confusion as to how to manage communication when you both have different communication styles. For example, although you both may discuss issues and have fairly open dialogue, one may be more verbal and another may be more action based or one may be more direct. So this topic comes back to being more about understanding each others communication style with some compromises.

The first thing to keep in mind when discussing this issue is that according to ‘Psychology Today’ communication stress can be one of the biggest forms of stress in the home. One of the biggest variants is where one person is direct and another indirect. The direct person will just come out and say exactly what they are considering, ie. “I would like to go to the movies tonight.” The indirect person may say something like, “It’s been ages since we went to the movies”. Even though both are saying exactly what they want the danger in the indirect response is that the person you are saying this too may completely miss the underlying message. Then what is likely to happen is the indirect person will get frustrated because they don’t get the answer they are looking for even though the person who is direct may be happy to go to the movies.

There are dangers in both styles. The danger for someone being direct is there is less chance of misunderstanding but more chance of upsetting. With indirect the dangers are the exact opposite. the problem when faced with two people with these two styles is it will always put strain and tension on the relationship.

That doesn’t mean you are doomed, it just means you have to be able to discuss and learn about each other. The key is always if you think the other person doesn’t get what you are saying or if you feel offended or just think you may not be understanding each other then speak up. the reason is you need to educate each other. This way over time you will each learn the style that the other person uses and will be able to recognise those moments.

Then there’s the relationship communication, both verbal and non verbal. Personally I am someone who mostly gets my reassurance in a relationship from physical touch, both intimate and sexual. But for me I also need the verbal. Those out of nowhere statements about love and devotion and just simply how much I am valued. I remember many years ago I had a partner who was only about the physical and when I asked him why he never said anything heartfelt he said that I should just know. He is probably right but it didn’t stop me feeling like something was missing. So I did my best to explain this to him. It doesn't stop there. Communicating about your own idiosyncrasies is important too. I know that towards the end of the week I get very emotional and a little on edge, simply from exhaustion. I can't expect my partner to just know that even though he probably does. I let him know that I was prone to this and if it was ever a problem to just pull me up on it. 

I don’t care who you are out there but finding the right methods of communication in your relationship is the most important thing you can do. It will prevent misunderstandings and just not being on the same page with your loved one. So take the time and patience and get to know each others styles. Relationships are important and really you have to work everyday at them. But in the end they are so rewarding. I for one feel very lucky in my relationship and I really believe that it's all about communication. I don't think we have perfected it yet and still have a lot to learn, but we do communicate.