How to Improve Communication in Relationships

Good communication is the key to a successfully getting along with your loved ones. Being able to convey how you feel and what you think is essential in good communication. However, that requires knowing how to effectively communicate with others. By understanding different communication styles, you can better interact with others and have more successful relationships.

How We Develop Communication in Relationships

We learn how to communicate from our surroundings – families, friends, communities, and the media. As we grow, we learn how to communicate from our parents, siblings, and extended family members. This information is supplemented by our friends and members of our communities. This includes teachers, role models, and others who directly impact our lives. Additionally, communication in relationships is influenced by what we see on television, in movies, and on the radio. We gather information from all of these sources and form our own style of communication.

The things we learn from others determines how we interact with others. Some of those skills are negative and others are positive. In the end, our goal should be to develop positive habits when it comes to communication in relationships. However, the things we learn from others are not always positive. It’s important to understand communication styles and how to utilize them positively.

Types of Communication

Everyone has a communication style. Essentially, we can separate communication styles into four categories – passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive. Every moment that we interact with others, we are utilizing one of these four types of relationship communication styles. The way we use them is learned and can be positive or negative. By understanding your communication style and that of others, you can have more successful relationships with others.

Passive Communication

Through passive communication, an individual focuses on “maintaining the peace.” This often requires avoidance of one’s own needs, wants, boundaries, and personal rights. Passive communication prioritizes the needs of others and puts an emphasis on avoiding conflict.

Passive communicators often show signs of distress, such as poor eye contact, slumped shoulders or body posture, and ignoring one’s own feelings. People who are communicating passively make jokes at their own expense and fail to positively express feelings. They often dismiss their own opinions in order to be overly considerate of others.

Although passive communication in relationships can be negative in that it does not convey one’s position, it also has some benefits. It makes the speaker less of a target and focuses on the other person, who may need to speak their mind. Passive communication can have a place in positive communication, but you should use it sparingly.

Aggressive Communication

Aggressive communication in relationships is the opposite of passive communication. It is identified by strongly expressing one’s needs, wants, and opinions. Sometimes aggressive communication crosses the boundaries of others. This can involve interrupting others as well as seeming threatening. Physical tells of aggressive communication include crossed arms, sneering, and loud speaking.

Aggressive communicators clearly get their point across and make sure their needs are conveyed. However, they often fail to recognize the needs and rights of others. They often do not listen well and can hurt or alienate others. When seeking to clearly express oneself, aggressive communication can be beneficial; however, it can also fail to consider the other person’s points.

Passive-Aggressive Communication

Passive-aggressive communication is indicated by someone who seems to be listening and acting appropriately or passively, but is actually aggressive under the surface. Often the person communicates hostility in subtle ways and seeks to control the situation in a subtle manner. Passive aggressive communicators may shame, blame, and criticize others. They fail to connect with others and also fail to convey their needs effectively.

The only upside of passive-aggressive communication is limiting one’s emotions for a short period of time. Although they may manipulate a situation in the short term, they rarely have positive outcomes over time.

Assertive Communication

Assertive communication involves clearly stating needs, wants, and rights in an honest way. Most assertive communicators respect the needs of others and present their own needs clearly. They often use “I” statements to convey information instead of blaming others with “you” statements.

Assertive communication can benefit both speakers and listeners. It respects the needs of everyone and encourages open communication. People often accuse assertive communicators of being aggressive because they are blunt and clear, but the difference is they are not self-seeking.

Using Effective Communication in Relationships

By understanding your own style of communication in relationships, as well as that of others, you can be more successful interacting with the people in your life. Continuous negative communication styles can result in the need to separate from a relationship. If that relationship is a marriage, you may consider legal separation or divorce. If you’re considering divorce, we can help. Call a Fresno divorce lawyer at Rick Banks Law today at (559) 222-4891.