(Read below the highlighted areas for the additional information that wasn’t able to be covered in the North Shore News article)
Effective communication is key for successful living, keeping stress low, and for the healthy foundation for all relationships. With effective communication misunderstandings and conflict can be avoided; bridges can be created between differences that enhance relationships for success with your partner, children, family, friends, co-workers, and the public.
There are four long-term lifestyle traits that support emotional well-being in any relationship. One of these is the communication “Talking Styles”. There are two that people unconsciously use to express themselves, “Figurative Talking Style” (FTS) and “Structural Talking Style” (STS).
The “FTS” communicators use words to express their feelings, using a stream of consciousness to express and release emotional states. They may have a logical nature but this is different from their talking style.
The “STS” use words according to their dictionary definitions. They lay the words out so that it makes sense to them, asking many questions to make sure they understand, and avoiding loose ends or assumptions. The background or circumstances of a situation can be as important as the event itself to them, as they are natural born problem solvers. They may have an emotional or sensitive nature but this is different from their talking style.
The two talking styles communicating together over a period of time can experience a significant energy drain that widens the gap until there is superficial communication.
The following are some of the conflicts that can arise between the two talking styles “Figurative Talking Style” (FTS} and the “Structured Talking Style” (STS):
The “FST” can have issues with questions from the “STS”, as they often stop the other person with what they think are reasonable questions to clarify and to understand what’s been said. The questions break the stream of consciousness that’s characteristic of the “FTS” who wants to be able to express emotion without interruption. The end result is frustration and conflict.
There can be a struggle for power in the relationship between the two styles. The “STS” appears authoritative to the “FTS” and they may feel put down and may respond by being insulting, perceiving that they are responding in kind.
In a long-term relationship between people with mismatched communication styles, you can hear strain or urgency in the voice of the person with a “FTS” and they constantly are on the defensive, trying to maintain a sense of equality. The end result of this is stress and conflict.
Hints and assumptions can obscure real needs between these two styles. The “FTS” often drop hints about what they desire; they do not think it’s necessary to be more specific, because they’re able to pick up on the nuances of what other people say and they assume everyone can. The “STS” need you to say what you mean. They don’t want to guess; they want directness and clarity. The end result is ambiguity and conflict.
There are differences between these two style in the time needed for decision-making. People with the “FTS” take time making decisions. They need to figure out how they feel, so they do not like to be rushed through the process. They can come across to the “STS” person as being indecisive and they may say: “can’t you just look at the facts and decide”? The end result is condescension and conflict.
People with the “FTS” see the “STS” as being hyper-intellectual, in their heads and out of touch with their feelings. The “FTS” wants you to feel what’s behind the words, while the “FTS” believes that the most important part is taking the words at face value, analyzing the meaning of each one and deriving a total meaning from this. For example, the “FTS” may say “I hate you”, meaning that my feelings about this are so big that I need to express myself forcefully so I am heard. Once said, the emotional charge is released and it is over. However, to the “STS” this means the relationship is over (Hate=no love=the relationship is over). The end result is miscommunication and conflict.
The differences can severely limit the enjoyment of friends and sharing the same interests. Friendships often determine interests and this supports friendships. Often this means that one person must give up their friends for the couple to stay together, or they will choose to lead separate lives. The end result is a widening of any gaps and a disconnection.
People with different communication styles do not share the same sense of humor. It is not a question of laughing at the same joke or enjoying the same funny movie. It is about whether or not the other person gets the most spontaneous and creative humor that comes from the depths of the other person. Do they get your quick turn of a phrase or off-the cuff remark that comes from your innermost creative part? If not, you lack a vital connection with the other person.
Many people think the solution is to “work at it”, but without the awareness of the “Communication Talking Style” differences and the skills to be successful at achieving positive change, people eventually come back to their default program and repeat the same patterns.
In order to build healthy relationships it is important to have an understanding of all four “Life-Style” traits and how to work with the differences. It is vital to learn and integrate effective communication techniques that aide in building a bridge between differences, avoid misunderstandings and to communicate so that understanding and compassion occurs.
Sometimes even with all of the knowledge, techniques and skills learned people can be stuck and unable to integrate effective communication and navigate through their differences.
The Central Nervous System and the Unconscious Mind get stuck in patterns and programs that sometimes make it difficult to integrate positive and effective change. When this happens, Neurofeedback, Hypnosis, or a combination can be used to easily and gently re-program for healthier ways of relating.
Teaching effective communication skills to individuals, couples, families, businesses, and organizations has been my passion for over Thirty-five years.