“Why does it seem like every time we talk, we end up in a fight?”

Do you ever wonder where things have gone wrong? Sometimes the solution can be as simple as changing the way we communicate with one another. Easier said than done, I know!

Communication is a key element of our relationships. Even when we don’t communicate, we are still sending a message of some sort. 

  • For example, if I choose not to communicate with my boss that I’m sick and can’t make it into work today, he may rightfully choose to fire me due to my unexplained absence.
  •  Or if someone greets me and I do not greet them back, they may be left wondering if something’s wrong. 

It is incredible the power that we have in communicating with one another. I think of what I have learned in just the first year of raising my son, and the language we use to determine what the other is saying. We have learned to use gestures, body language, specific tones of voice, and even facial expressions. As it turns out, you can say a whole lot without ever speaking a word.

Types of Communication

There are many types and styles of communication, but the two obvious main types of personal communication are Verbal and Nonverbal.

  • Verbal communication is fairly self-explanatory. It is the use of words and language to express ourselves. 
  • Nonverbal communication is the use of body language, postures, eye contact, actions, gestures, facial expressions, and even the distance you place between yourself and the person you are communicating with.

Verbal and nonverbal communication types are used together to create a whole picture of what a person is saying or not saying.

Styles of Communicating

Then there are four basic styles of communicating; Passive, Aggressive, Passive-Aggressive, and Assertive

  • Passive communication is the style in which people typically avoid conflict and confrontation. They may avoid expressing their own feelings or opinions, and often let grievances build up over time rather than reacting right away. Passive communicating is said to be used by individuals who have low self-worth. 

Often they exhibit slumped posture or lack of eye contact, speak softly and apologize often, and are unable to express their needs or feelings well. Passive communicators might feel anxious when they can’t seem to stay in control of their life, they may be resentful towards others for taking advantage of them and may be unable to mature as their feelings and needs are never truly addressed. 

  • Aggressive communication is the style in which people express themselves in a manner that dominates or undermines others, often resulting in intimidating or intense interactions. Aggressive communication is exhibited by a loud tone of voice, overbearing posture, is often rude or interrupting, and is often criticizing others and using “you” directed statements. Aggressive communicators may find themselves alienated having pushed others away, and may find themselves unable to mature as they continue to blame others for their problems. 
  • Passive-Aggressive communication is the style in which people may appear to be passive, but are acting out their aggressions behind-the-scenes. Passive-aggressive communication may be exhibited by muttering to oneself rather than dealing with confrontation, speak sarcastically, pretend everything is fine but is resentful underneath. This type of communicator may find themselves alienated and resentful of those around them. They’re often unable to mature until they take responsibility for their issues. 
  • Assertive communication is the style in which people express themselves with clarity and confidence, are able to speak up for themselves and how they would like to be treated, and also foster a two-way street of respect for those they are speaking with. 

This style is exhibited by a relaxed body posture, good eye contact, a calm tone of voice, and the ability to clearly express what needs to be said. This type of communicator is overall more confident and has a healthy value of self, feels connected to others, strives to create a respectful environment for others to be heard, and is able to mature because they address problems and issues as they come up.  

That’s a brief overview of the 2 types of communication and the 4 basic styles that you’ll soon be identifying everywhere you look. The question is, what style do you use and is it effective for your family?

For me personally, as I refreshed my knowledge of the types of communication, I realized that I still use passive communication as my go-to. Despite my desire to be a more assertive communicator. I’ve seen the effectiveness of my communication increase ten-fold when I am assertive, but my personality is passive in nature. It’s something I definitely need to practice.

What Style Do You Use?

Are you curious about what style of communication you use most? If you don’t know already, check out this short quiz and get your answers at the end.

I began this post by asking the question: why does it seem like every time we talk, we end up in a fight? I know that for a long time, I was stuck in this pattern of continual battles with my family members and even outside friendships. It couldn’t be me, it was obviously their fault!

Eventually, I found myself very lonely, and very confused. I asked for counsel, and one of the big issues that came to the surface was the need for healthy communication. I saw immediately that the way I had been communicating to my loved ones had actually been pushing them away. I have been working on changing this about myself for several years, and it’s not easy! Let me tell you though if you are looking for a solution to open up the lines of communication in your family once more, start with yourself. Remember that you are the person responsible for you, and change starts within. 

How Triangle Cross Ranch Can Help

Here at Triangle Cross Ranch, taking responsibility for the way we communicate is a key aspect of our daily life. We are not perfect by any means, but as the staff, we strive to model the best example by:

  • Listening well
  • Engaging each other in a welcoming posture
  • Being open to young men’s needs and valid feelings
  • Offering correction when their own communication could use improvement

Even as adults working together, we have to work hard to say what we mean and mean what we say. Our words and matching actions are the glue holding that holds everything together. For those struggling, we are in prayer for you and your family. It is my hope that this post was helpful to you today.

Annamarie

Mentor & Houseparent

Why Do Your Talks End as Fights?