Relationships, of any kind, are a funny thing. As human beings, we have a tendency to crave the company of others, but with that company comes a host of opportunities for misunderstandings, arguments and drama of all kinds. At the root of most of these issues is miscommunication. Successful communication depends on someone sharing information and someone else that not only gets the message, but is able to effectively interpret it. This is called the “communication loop,” and it can only be successfully closed when the sender of the information can confirm that the receiver has interpreted their message as intended.
Our day-to-day communications, however, tend to happen at a faster pace than we can trace the “loop progress.” Instead, if you truly want to assess your communication type, ask yourself the following:
- How do you communicate with others during a typical day?
- How do the people around you communicate with you, and each other?
- Based on these experiences, why do communications tend to break down?
It’s Not Just About You
The first thing that comes into play with how we communicate with others, is how we view ourselves. Call it a leftover evolutionary survival instinct, call it the rise of individualism in modern society, call it what you will but human beings have a tendency to view themselves as the center of their own universe. Technically, this is true. We are the main characters in our own stories, we do get to decide our own paths and create the type of life that we envision for ourselves—however, much like being unique, that goes for everyone. All of our lives are tiny little universes spinning on their axis, with us as the blazing sun in the center. Our friends and families are the planets, moons and stars that we bring together through our gravitational pull. Here’s the kicker though: you are someone else’s moon. Let that sink in for just a moment. Once we recognize that everyone we have in our lives views themselves in the same way, we pave the way to a better understanding and clearer communication.
4 Different Types of Communicators
All of us have our own ways of communicating, which we learn through many different avenues throughout our lives (that’s another topic, for another article). How those different styles interact with each other, is how we can pinpoint specific pitfalls in communication.
(Interpersonal) The Relator: The Relator is a strong, interpersonal “open” communicator. Those who fall under this category generally have an easy time expressing their thoughts and feelings and tend to be extremely relationship oriented. While they are typically warm, friendly and good listeners, Relators are also very security conscious and tend to keep their relationship at more of an arms-length.
(Affective) The Socializer: Also considered an open communication type, the socializer is fast-paced, slightly aggressive, enthusiastic and persuasive. They have a high view of their own self-worth and prefer to work with others, rather than be alone. Socializers also tend to be frequent risk-takers.
(Cognitive) The Thinker: This closed communication type is highly analytical, cautious and tends to be task-oriented. They can take a long time to warm up to others and reveal information about themselves. They work well alone, and have an easy time following directions. Thinkers tend to fall on the perfectionist side and are usually very efficient.
(Behavioral) The Director: Both aggressive and competitive, the Director is a closed communication style that favors results over other’s personal impact. Directors are fast-paced, decisive and are often viewed as being domineering. They have a difficult time sharing their feelings and little concern for personal relationships.
Being really honest with ourselves about our communication type can help to reduce our instances of miscommunication, which tends to be at the root of most of our conflicts. We tend to communicate most effectively with our same type (Socializers have the easiest time communicating with other Socializers, etc.). However, with four main types, the odds are, we will constantly find ourselves having to find a way to effectively communicate with other types, outside our own.