Often, when I work with a couple, I hear the complaint, “We have different communication styles.”
I understand why having different communication styles can be seen as a negative rather than a positive, because many times opposite communication styles can clash and cause conflict. Not fun.
Frankly, most partners walking the planet have different communication styles. How someone communicates, whether it be candidly, guardedly, or not much at all, can have a lot to do with a person’s temperament or personality.
In many relationships, people are attracted to others who have an opposite personality. There is a reason for this. Life strives to find balance, in nature, and in human existence. When we meet someone who brings opposite energy to our sphere, we often are attracted to that type of energy because it balances our type of energy. Some people do this knowingly, and others, unwittingly.
The point is that, in the beginning of a relationship, we accept and actually admire our partner’s different style of being or communicating. We often find it interesting and intriguing. This different personality correlates to how the person communicates.
For example, my husband is a low-key, steady type of personality. If you’re in a crisis – trust me – you want this man around. My personality, on the other hand, is more frenetic and high energy. I have a lower threshold for panic, shall I say. I knew within a few months of meeting my husband that his energy/personality type was a great fit for my energy/personality type. Happy day! I found balance.
Take that opposite personality and translate it into opposite communication styles, which my husband and I have, and it can cause stress on our relationship – until we learned that, neither one of our communication styles was wrong. We figured out that the crux of this whole different communication style thing had to do with how we process information.
My husband is an introvert – not in the traditional sense of being shy, but in how he processes information. When we are taking about something of importance, my husband needs time to process it within himself. I, on the other hand, like to process by talking out loud about the issue or topic, with little or no inner processing.
In order to work together to solve a problem, I have learned to give my husband time to think it through and he has learned to allow me, once he is done processing, to process it out loud with him. It took stepping back from criticism and, instead, understanding that each of our communication styles is not wrong, but in fact attached to the personality we both admire in one another.
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