By Diana Westrick, Legal Assistant, Woodruff Family Law Group
Have you ever noticed that what you are thinking does not always translate into what you are trying to communicate? Let’s refer back to those people from Part 1: Despite the most complicated, high-stress situations, they somehow manage to get their point across in the most concise manner possible. Is it luck? Do they have a background in intensive conflict resolution? Maybe, but not likely. Having a basic understanding of the four types of communication styles can help you determine where your communication typically lies, why it may not be working for you, and how to communicate most effectively.
The Three Communication Styles You Should Try to Avoid
- Have you ever felt like or been called a “door mat?”
- Do you often not speak up despite disagreeing or feeling uncomfortable?
- Do you minimize how you feel in respect to others?
In passive communication, the individual is taking the blame for both their own actions and someone else’s. For example, “They’re right, I should not have provoked them. They would not have left me if I did not push them.”
- Do you believe others have a direct impact on your own behaviors/actions?
- Do you feel as though raising your voice is the best way to be heard?
- When describing how you feel, do you use the word “you” more so than “I?”
In aggressive communication, the individual is directly placing the blame on someone else, despite their involvement. For example, “You’re the reason this happened. I did not show up to our counseling appointment, because you make me look bad in front of the counselor.”
- Are you sarcastic?
- Do you ever laugh/smile at someone when they are obviously upset with you?
- Do you thrive on the moment you are able to say “I told you so?”
In passive-aggressive communication, the individual is indirectly placing the blame on someone else through a third entity (person, event, etc.). For example, “I can’t help it if our daughter does not want to stay with you.” Or, “Don’t remind your father of the new time he is supposed to pick you up today.”
So now that I seem like I’m trying to take away any form of communication possible, let me introduce you to the ideal method of talking to others and of presenting yourself:
In assertive communication, the individual only takes responsibility for the own actions, feelings, and behaviors and does not try, nor force, others to take their own. For example, “I feel upset whenever you do not reply to my phone calls.” In passive communication, you may not say anything. In aggressive communication, you may say “you make me feel upset.” — Note, that NO ONE can make you feel anything. People can influence you, but anything you feel or do is a result of your choosing to do so. – In passive-aggressive communication, you may in return not respond to any of their phone calls.
Can you see the difference? By taking responsibility for your own actions, thoughts, and feelings, you can truly start implementing who you are. Do you not like how you are communicating? Start small. If something is bothering you, speak up. Make a conscious effort to use the word “I” more than “you.” As much fun as it may be, try to avoid the silent treatment and plotting revenge. Be honest, has any of this truly gotten the results you were after?
Being lucky has nothing to do with actual luck. Rather, it is about identifying who you are and communicating that in the best manner possible to the world. So go ahead, be one of those people. You know, the ones who know how to make others think it’s just luck.