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Communication is the Key to Your Heart

Updated on February 9, 2018
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Jules Ker has been providing counseling services to clients for 12 years. She has treated many different kinds of disorders over the years.


Communication Styles

We all have our own style of communicating. Experts have identified four main communication styles: passive, aggressive, assertive, and passive aggressive.

1. Passive: A passive communicator typically does not like conflict. As such, they do not express their own feelings and will often just agree with others. Passive people tend to get taken advantage of by others because they don't speak their mind.

2. Aggressive: Someone with an aggressive style of communication openly expresses their feelings but does so in a rude way. They may yell, scream, or belittle whomever they are talking to. Aggressive communicators can appear to be arrogant or cocky. Others usually avoid them out of fear.

3. Assertive: An assertive speaker also openly expresses their feelings but does so in a respectful way. They consider other people's feelings when they are conversing with others. This is the communication style all people should aim for using.

4. Passive-Aggressive: With this style of conversation, a person indirectly expresses their feelings. They may verbally say things are ok while acting in a manner that says otherwise. They typically "get back" at you later on for whatever they are upset with you about. This often creates confusion and leaves others uncertain how to respond. Additionally, a passive-aggressive person might use sarcasm when speaking to others.

Each of us tends toward one main pattern of communicating. We can adapt our style depending on who else we are interacting with. For example, if two passive communicators are talking with each other one may need to become more assertive in order to get things done.

If you are uncertain what form of communication is your primary one, use the link below to take a quiz that will help you figure it out.


The Love Languages - The Lesser Known Communication Style

While many of us are familiar with the communication patterns mentioned above, few of us know about the love languages. The love languages were "discovered" by Dr. Gary Chapman. These "languages" have nothing to do with how we communicate about everyday topics such as grocery shopping or how our day was. Instead, the love languages are different ways to express love. Dr. Chapman was able to reduce the love languages into five universal categories, which are discussed further below.

1. Words of Affirmation: Compliments, particularly unsolicited ones, mean the most if this is your preferred language. You enjoy hearing the words "I love you" spoken often. Additionally, if your partner goes even further and explains why they love you, then that's even better. However, insults can be heartbreaking and hard to get over if this is your love style.

2. Quality Time: Being able to spend time with your partner is super important for those who have quality time as their primary love pattern. It's really critical that your partner gives you their full attention - the tv is off, their phone is put away, they are not in the middle of completing any chores - when they spend time with you. Otherwise, it won't matter that they spent any time with you since they weren't "really there".

3. Receiving Gifts: It's not just about getting gifts but about the thought/consideration placed into the gift. If you point out an item you really love and your partner remembers and purchases the item one day "just because", you'll likely be over the moon. On the other hand, your partner buying you a blender because you don't have one won't mean much. Likewise, if your partner forgets to acknowledge your birthday or an anniversary with a meaningful gift, then it could be harmful to the relationship.

4. Acts of Service: Does your partner vacuum floors or clean bathrooms without you asking? Do you notice strong feelings of love/admiration for your partner when he/she does these things? Then you are likely an "acts of service" person. This communication style is all about your partner easing your burden without you having to tell them to do so. Failure by your partner to follow through on something they said they would do can cause you to feel unimportant.

5. Physical Touch: This does not just mean physical intimacy in the form of sex but includes hugging, kissing, holding hands and other intimate forms of touch. It could be as simple as snuggling together while watching tv or holding hands while on a walk. A physical touch person might be described as "touchy-feely". For this type of communicator, having a partner that shies away from hugs or kisses will cause a dent in the relationship.

Why Do Love Languages Matter?

Just like with the communication styles discussed previously, each of us has our own "love language". We typically don't end up with a partner who speaks the same "love language" that we do. This makes relationships confusing because we end up sending love messages in the wrong way. For example, if words of affirmation are important to you, you might provide lots of verbal praise to your partner not realizing he/she does not find the praise rewarding. The end result is that your partner may not feel loved and you won't understand why. It is as if one partner is speaking French while the other is speaking Italian and neither one knows how to speak the other's language. Learning your love language and your partner's love language allows you to each start "speaking" each other’s language, thus allowing each to more truly feel loved and cared about.

If you need help determining your love language, use the link below to get to Gary Chapman's website which offers an online version of the quiz you and your partner can take. Still interested in learning more? Check out Gary Chapman's book, The 5 Love Languages. His book allows you to learn about these styles of communication in more depth. It also teaches methods for learning how to "speak" your partner's love language.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts
This is the book written by Gary Chapman that explains the love languages in more detail. It's a great book, easy to read. Highly recommended if you want more than just what information is offered on his website.

What's your communication style?

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What's your love language?

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