Navigating Different Communication Styles in Relationships
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Passive communicators go along with the other person’s ideas, narratives and suggestions. They avoid conflicts and confrontations. They appear anxious, afraid of disapproval and are often having poor eye contact or posture.
In a relationship, these people bottle up their emotions and do what their partner plans or does. It is a ‘doom scenario’ if both partners are passive.
An aggressive communicator is demanding, defensive, dominating and even hostile. They are poor listeners, always having something to say. They maintain direct eye contact and often use a harsh tone.
An aggressive communicator can be a problem in a relationship, as they don’t know when to stop yelling, refusing to back down or not considering their partner's feelings.
Also known as the confuser, a passive-aggressive communicator is a bundle of contradictions. They can be easily frustrated, resentful, unable to say what they want to say, making good use of sarcasm, indirect communication, criticism and complaining. People interacting with them are often alienated.
In a relationship, these kinds of communicators are the ones harbouring subtle anger, not telling if something is wrong, preferring the silent treatment. A lot of this behaviour feels like emotional abuse to the partner.
Assertive communicators are self-confident, clear and open. They can share their opinion with calmness and are generally considerate of the differences of outlook.
In relationships, assertive people have healthy discussions, as they are also good listeners. Due to this ability to listen well, they have certain security with sharing their own opinions, thoughts and feelings while speaking.
One needs to figure out their own style and change it if needed. One can take a few seconds before responding and reflect upon what they have listened to with intent.
The first step is to validate the person’s feelings, making them feel heard and listened to. The listening part is even more crucial than the solution or the remedy, which won’t be impactful if provided before hearing out the person fully.
Depending on the circumstance and the stance of the partner, one should know which type of communication is to be used, and when it has to be changed. Talking should be paired with listening, and your partner should have a safe place to express their feelings fully.
Make sure your words and actions are on the same platform, with no contradiction between them. If you think you are ‘spent’ and it is too late, you can bring in a trained relationship specialist for help.
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