Life and Love
Relationship advice: What’s your relationship communication style?
The way you communicate can make or break your relationship.
by : Jen Kirsch- Nov 3rd, 2011
If asked, many of us would report that we are great communicators when it comes to discussing issues with our significant other. More times than not, our partners would likely report otherwise. Everyone has their own way of dealing with relationship confrontation, but some ways are much healthier than others.
Being aware of what communication style you are can help you connect with your partner in a much more effective way. For instance, you’ll be able to see the pros and cons. Here is some
relationship advice that can help give you some insight.
Communication style #1: The strong, but not so silent type
Many people hold back their concerns from their partner for fear of being the one to start a fight. Your hope is that they’ll notice you’re upset and will bring it up, asking you what’s wrong. You may take longer than normal to respond to a
text, email or call from them, you may sigh, and roll your eyes and purposefully put on a cold front to send not-so-silent signals that you’re worked up. If you’re concerned about something, it’s your responsibility to bring it up. People shouldn’t have to pay for their mistakes if you don’t even share what they’ve done wrong. Be assertive and express your feelings instead of hoping he’ll play mind reader.
Communication style #2: The “everything-but”
As soon as an argument arises, you point fingers, engaging your defensive other-half in some back and forth banter about who’s right and who’s wrong. When arguing, you should focus on the real problem. Couples get so distracted by other issues that have nothing to do with the fight. If you catch yourself placing blame, or bringing up past issues, stop yourself and bring yourself back to the specific problem. The main issue won’t get resolved unless you focus on why it bothered you, and until you offer a solution. Placing blame will only result in a defensive, unresponsive partner and will make you feel worse.
Haven’t found your relationship communication style yet? Keep reading on for more ways you communicate on the next page…
Communication style #3: The aggressive attacker
Name-calling and stonewalling have no place in communication. You lose the fight once you resort to personal attacks. When worked up, we often act on our adrenaline and use hurtful words to stab our partner’s insecurities, bringing them down to how we feel, but doing so shows weakness and causes more damage after the fight is resolved. You end up feeling guilty and regretful, and they lose trust in you and your opinion of them. Same goes for shutting your partner out when they need you most; it’s fine to take time to cool off and informing them of that, but it’s important to set a timeline of when you can reconvene the conversation, as well as reassure them that everything’s ok. Keeping them hanging and shutting them out is an aggressive way to prove a point. Take the high road.
Communication style #4: The wet blanket
The “wet blanket” communicator wants to put out the fire as soon as it starts, and will tell your partner what they want to hear in order to avoid confrontation. You think that agreeing with them will give them no fuel to counter with, which is accurate in the moment, but if you just agree with them right away and say what they want to hear you avoid knowing what the issues are, a sure sign they will come up again. What’s worse is they will expect you to follow through with whatever you say and when you don’t it will only lead to a worse off situation. Don’t give your word if you won’t be true to it. How you handle an argument will set the tone for the rest of your relationship so it’s important to be able to talk things out.
Communication style #5: The Jack-in-the-Box
Much like a Jack-in-the-Box toy that winds up and explodes when you least expect it, the same thing can happen in relationships. When you let aggravated feelings get pent up inside, you’re likely to have your own “Jack-in-the-Box” moment where seemingly out of nowhere, you pounce on your partner with some problem or issue that you’ve been burying. If you continually don’t acknowledge a problem, keep silent and show no signs of frustration, you will one day be guilty of the “Jack-in-the-Box” moment. You might do this silently hoping that things will change or get better in time, so you try to keep it in until one day you can’t take it anymore and “freak out.” To you, you have all these examples of when he did x, y, z, but to him he see’s this anger as sudden and overly dramatic. Instead of keeping tabs of all the wrongdoings, decide whether or not you want to approach the issues as they arise or let them go. You can’t hold someone accountable for something if you don’t give them the opportunity to solve it.
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