What Communication Style Are You

Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend helps us identify what style you are, and how to communicate with the other “style”.

Pursuers (Fighters or Talkers)

Pursuers, also known as Talkers or Fighters tend to want answers more than anything else. When conflict arises, the fighter tends to be the one that jumps out in front and begins pushing in hopes of getting some answers. They are really just looking for a way to feel less insecure and they’ve found going on the offense is the best route. They are the one that wants to talk, usually on their agenda, on their schedule, and on their pace. Simply put, the Pursuer feels that the best way to get ahead on issues of conflict is to talk it out. They don’t want to scare anyone with their approach; they’re really just looking for answers and resolution.

You might be a Pursuer if you:

• Need to talk about every difference of opinion.

• If you have a hard time listening to others.

• If you feel a need to communicate about everything.

• If you notice many of your conversations get heated quickly.

• Get frustrated easily.

• Interrupt others frequently.

• Tell others what they need to be doing.

Withdrawers (Flighters or Walkers)

Withdrawers tend to be conflict avoidant and have a deep commitment to keeping the peace at all costs. Withdrawers, also known as walkers or flighters tend to be stuffers who internalize their feelings, stuffing them deeper and deeper inside, not even noticing that their inward pain is starting to grow. They have effectively learned to quiet their voice in exchange for creating more longevity in the relationship. They feel their silence buys them time; however that is usually not the case. Eventually, when the build up of stuffed emotion is too great, sudden explosions occur and an angry voice of past offenses takes hold and doesn’t stop until the pain is out. That’s when the little things of life become big things and they become unwilling to go silent any more. Flighters might have low self esteem or may doubt their ability to effectively communicate and may also be more prone to guilt, self-censoring and shame. After their blow ups they usually quickly return to their passive flighting style.

• Take everything your partner says.

• Are more prone to stuff your feelings, likes or dislikes deep inside you.

• Rarely push a conversation or drive the talk.

• Speak softly and apologetically.

• Feel like you have no control over your life.

• Feel alone because you can’t express your voice.

• Feel hopeless because nothing will change.

• Are resentful about your conversations with your partner.

• Feel you are a victim.

REAL Communicators

The opposite and most effective communication styles is what we call a REAL Communicator. That is someone who learns to openly, safely discuss the REAL issues, the true, core problems. REAL Communicators make it safe for the Withdrawer so that they don’t feel intimidated to share and will remain open. They also speak their voice so that the Pursuer doesn’t feel a need to drive the conversation. In order to become a REAL Communicator you have to learn to break the ineffective styles that you have used over the years. I normally spend 6 to 8 hours teaching people how to get REAL but the spirit of getting real is really very simple. We simply have to find some way to keep the Pursuer from pushing and to keep the withdrawing from running away. Here are a few rules that might help accomplish that task.

Rules to get REAL Communication

The job of the Pursuer is to:

• Make It Safe

o Stop attacking, blaming, criticizing, complaining.

o Quit using “you” statements where you blame or accuse or tell the other what they’re doing wrong.

o Remain calm and use neutral positive tones and facial expressions. No eye rolling, head shaking or deep loud breathes.

• Start With Them First

o Most people want to be understood on important issues so if before trying to influence someone else, start with them first.

o Use more statements like “So you’re hurting because I said …” instead of asking a question like “So why are you hurting?” or defending your position.

o The best way to keep them talking is to show that you can understand without reacting to what they are saying.

The job of the Withdrawer is to:

• Stand your ground.

o Remember your goal is to create mutual understanding and you can’t create understanding if you’re not in the same conversations.

o Get used to feeling uncomfortable. A turtle needs to stick its neck out once in a while to get somewhere.

o Create a rule with your partner where you can share your feelings one at a time, where voices won’t be raised and where understanding can take place.

• Share your voice.

o Remember a voice not shared is a voice not heard.

o Your voice is going to come out one way or another. Either in the conversation or in uglier ways later.

o Try to share you voice in a way that can keep your partner willing and open to hearing it.

Remember that to truly make this work you need to break the communication habits that have created so many problems in your marriage. Remember if you keep both doing what you’ve always been doing, you’re both going to keep getting what you’ve always been getting. Obviously you can’t learn all of this in one little segment so come and take our workshop and learn how to get REAL Communication in your marriage.

Do you recognize this pattern in your relationship?

Learn to overcome it in Matt’s 6-week workshop.

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Wednesday, September 9

7:00 – 9:00 pm

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