Healthy communication in relationships rank as one of the top 3 habits of a happy relationship. Its essential that you and your partner to communicate effectively, honestly and transparently. In theory, this sounds easy, however in our daily lives achieving effective communication proves to be a challenge that affects every couple.
Although we all like to think we’re saying exactly what we mean, that’s not always the case, especially when we’re talking to someone who uses a communication style different from our own. When two people come together, their communication styles often clash and end up leading to arguments and misunderstandings.
In this blog post, we take a look at the 4 types of communication styles and how you can identify which group you belong to. It’s not all doom and gloom though, once you both figure out your communication styles then you will be able to better navigate your relationship. These communications styles are:
- Passive Communication – For this style of communication, an individual avoids all forms of expressing themselves both verbally and non-verbally. They will not be able to express their feelings, opinions or needs. They often speak in a soft voice. Because of these habits, passive communicators are unable to respond to hurtful or anger-inducing situations. Instead, passive communicators keep it all in a bid to maintain the peace. However, once they reach their threshold, they proceed to have explosive outbursts which usually don’t conform to the situation that has triggered it. Passive communicators need to remember that in every relationship, their voice does matter.
- Aggressive Communication – With this style of communication, an individual expresses their feelings and opinions in ways that infringe on the rights of others. They are prone to resorting to physical and verbal abuse just to get their point across. Aggressive communicators tend to be the way they are due to low self-esteem as a result of past traumas. If you communicate in this way or your partner communicates in this way, seek professional help. Professional help will aid you or your partner in developing healthy communication patterns and healing dysfunctional patterns.
- Passive-Aggressive Communication – With this particular type of communication, an individual may appear passive on the surface, however, they are acting out of anger behind the scenes in a subtle or indirect way. A key sign of passive-aggressiveness is “silent treatment” after an argument or disagreement. Passive-aggressive communicators also tend use sarcasm, guilt-bait and prolonging of disagreements to hurt the other person.
- Assertive Communication – This type of communication is considered the ideal standard of communicating with another person. For this style of communication, an individual can clearly articulate and voice their opinions, feelings, needs and wants in a respectful manner without infringing on the rights of the other party. Assertive communicators are self-aware, respectful of others and have a high self-esteem. Assertiveness allows us to take care of ourselves, and is fundamental for good mental health and healthy relationships.
Now that we know the 4 types of communication. Most of us tend to dabble in different communication styles depending on the issue at hand. Take a moment to reflect and examine on what your predominant style is. After, examine your partner’s style.
Remember most disagreements in relationships stem from a lack of understanding each other’s communication patterns. We advise you to try out elements of assertiveness when tweaking your communication styles especially when it comes to voicing concerns with respect. After self reflection of your communication styles, you can now both begin to communicate with love and respect.Don’t beat yourself up if your communication style isn’t the ideal way to handle conflict in your relationship. As with all things, remember that unlearning bad communication habits takes time, energy, focus, practice and dedication.
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