The most common problem that couples report is, ‘poor communication,’ but what does this mean? It’s not often couples have real communication gaps-like one speaks French the other German. The issue is miscommunication; you or your partner don’t feel heard and you don’t know how to fix it? What’s killing your relationships isn’t YOU but your COMMUNICATION STYLE! Communication can be a problem if you are single also!
The first question to ask: ‘Am I a High or Low Expressive person?’ If you are a HIGH EXPRESSIVE person, on my quiz, you were either a Confident Hero (Secure), Renaissance Lover (Independent) or an Expressive Giver (Emotional) type. The next question, ‘Do I share too much?’ You think you have good communication skills, but how is your delivery?
If you are a LOW EXPRESSIVE person, you are more reticent or reluctant to share how you think and feel. You might also harbor resentment. On my quiz, you were either a Reserved Playmate (Secure) a Hesitant Romantic (Independent) or Loyal Supporter (Emotional) type. The next question “Does my date or partner know how I feel?’ If you are a Wounded Warrior you can be either High or Low expressive.
IS COMMUNICATION KILLING YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
You might think you are a good communicator but if your partner doesn’t agree it’s a problem. I think of Communication like a game of tennis. In tennis, the only person whose opinion that counts is your partner. Two skills are important in tennis similar to communication, you need a good serve and a good return shot.
LOVE = TENNIS
In tennis, you need to be able to serve the ball and to return shots. YOUR SERVE= is how well you are able to get your point across. Are you clear and direct in bringing things up and sharing how you feel and do you ask for specific things to make them better? RETURN SHOT= is your ability to respond to your partner’s communication. Do you let your partner know that you heard what they said? Are your responses empathic? Do you show concern for your partner’s thoughts and feelings?
If YOU’rE SINGLE:
HIGH EXPRESSIVE SINGLE: As high expressive person do you tend to share too much or too soon? Do you find yourself talking about failed relationships on the first date or the person who just stole your parking spot? Pay attention to your energy, stay positive and share compliments. Your date will feel comfortable when you share positive things and have high energy!
LOW EXPRESSIVE SINGLE: If you are a low expressive person ask yourself, ‘How will people get to know me if I don’t share more of myself?’ It’s frustrating for your date to have to pry information out of you by asking questions. If you feel vulnerable by sharing too much, plan ahead. Think about conversations that you can engage in, but aren’t necessarily too revealing for you. People cannot read your mind or know how you think and feel if you don’t share. Don’t worry you’re sharing too much, low expressive people only think they are sharing a lot because it’s not in their comfort zone. Share more on your next date.
If you’re partnered:
Being high or low expressive is neither good nor bad, but it can be a problem if you and your partner have opposite communication styles; when one partner is High expressive and shares lots of concerns, the other is Low expressive and feels flooded. If you are not sure who your partner is, take the partner quiz here to find out more.
OPPOSITE COMMUNICATION ProblemS?
YOU ARE HIGH EXPRESSIVE + YOUR PARTNER IS LOW: If you are highly expressive, you have little trouble expressing what is wrong in your relationship, you tell your partner exactly what you are thinking and feeling. If this were a serve in tennis, it might it be too aggressive or too fast? Might your partner not be able to return your shot? Does your partner feel overwhelmed, do you share too much that you sound like you are complaining? Watch out that your partner doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the quantity of your sharing. If this is you, work on softening your serve. Also, don’t assume the worst if you partner is low expressive. Instead of thinking of them as withholding, avoiding or even, punishing consider that your partner may not have learned that talking about things makes them better? Consider how they feel, your partner may be thinking, “Why do I have to repeat myself, you should know how I feel, Why do I have to say it? Why can’t you be quiet?” Consider your partner’s background and try to appreciate your differences. If you want your partner to share more, be encouraging, and receptive.
IF YOU ARE LOW EXPRESSIVE: You will need to work on getting your serve over the net. No one can read your mind, you must speak up and ask for what you want and express how you feel. When returning your partner’s shot, make sure you acknowledge them by saying, “Yes, I hear you” Letting them know you heard them is different than agreeing with them.
Summary: In a secure relationship, both partners should feel heard and understood.love is like tennis it takes two skilled players to communicate. Tennis is more fun when you know how to play!
Share with me your own communication struggles, What do you need help with?