Crack the code: Identify your partner's communication style

Learn the secrets of identifying your partner's communication style for a deeper connection. Enhance your relationship with effective communication methods.

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All couples possess a unique way of communicating with each other. Understanding your partner’s communication style is vital for fostering a strong and harmonious relationship. 1

Awareness of your communication styles is fundamental in keeping the lines of communication open in a romantic relationship. In this article, let’s explore how you can uncover and understand your partner’s unique communication style.

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Why identify your partner’s communication style?

Why identify your partner's communication style?

Understanding your partner’s communication style is crucial to nurturing a healthy and thriving relationship. When you can identify how your partner prefers to communicate, it becomes easier to connect with them on a deeper level. 2

By discerning your partner’s preferred communication methods, you can tailor your approach to facilitate better understanding and mutual respect. This can help avoid misunderstandings, reduce conflicts, and foster a more respectful dialogue.

Here are the reasons why identifying your partner’s communication style is essential for a successful and fulfilling relationship:

The four communication styles: A brief explanation

Before we delve into the strategies for identifying your partner’s communication style, let’s familiarize ourselves with the four primary communication styles. These styles provide a framework that helps us better understand interactions and how they can be improved.

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6 ways to identify your partner’s communication style

6 ways to identify your partner's communication style

As each person’s communication style is unique and can vary depending on the situation, identifying it can sometimes be a challenge. However, you can unravel these nuances by observing and understanding your approach.

Here are six practical strategies to deduce your partner’s communication style effectively:

1. Expressive vs. reserved communicator?

One of the initial steps in identifying your partner’s communication style is to distinguish whether they are more expressive or reserved in their communication. This can provide you with valuable insight into understanding their needs.

Expressive communicators are often enthusiastic, active, and open in their interactions. They tend to use animated body language, maintain eye contact and aren’t afraid of discussing their feelings and thoughts. If your partner is an expressive communicator, they may articulate their emotions freely and eagerly participate in conversations.

On the other hand, reserved communicators might seem more reticent or controlled in their interactions. They may prefer to listen rather than speak, hold back emotions, and show restraint in displaying body language. If your partner is a reserved communicator, they may require extra encouragement or space to share their thoughts and feelings.

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2. Emotional vs. rational communicator?

Another crucial distinction in communication styles is whether your partner leans towards being an emotional or a rational communicator. This helps you tailor your communication to better resonate with your partner, leading to more productive discussions.

Emotional communicators wear their hearts on their sleeves, expressing their feelings openly and allowing their emotions to guide their discussions. They may use emotive language and expressive gestures and display a wide range of emotions during conversations.

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In contrast, rational communicators favor logic, facts, and reason in their conversations. They may remain calm and composed, even when discussing challenging topics, and they are likely to articulate their thoughts in a structured, logical manner.

3. Pay attention to their non-verbal cues

Non-verbal cues can offer invaluable insights into your partner’s communication style. These cues include body language, facial expressions, eye contact, posture, and gestures, all of which can reveal emotions and attitudes that words alone may not express. 5

For instance, if your partner maintains steady eye contact during a conversation, this could indicate that they are engaged, attentive, and open to dialogue. On the other hand, crossed arms, averted eye contact, or a rigid posture might suggest discomfort, defensiveness, or disinterest.

Additionally, consider their use of physical space. Some people communicate intimacy and connection through touch, hugging, or proximity, while others may prefer more personal space, signaling a more reserved communication style.

4. Note their reaction to conflicts

Conflicts arise in every relationship, and people handle them differently. Note how your partner responds to disagreements or arguments. Do they become aggressive or tend to withdraw? Are they adept at problem-solving, or do they avoid discussing the issue? 6

These reactions can provide helpful clues as to their communication style. Aggressive communicators may initiate heated debates and become overly defensive, while passive communicators may shut down or completely avoid the conflict.

Passive-aggressive communicators might be indirect with their feelings and criticize behavior without directly mentioning it, whereas assertive communicators express their opinions respectfully and constructively.

5. Listen for language patterns

Language is often an indication of communication style. Certain language patterns can help you identify your partner’s communication style. 7

For instance, passive communicators may use expressions such as “I don’t want to cause trouble” or “It doesn’t really matter to me,”. In contrast, aggressive communicators may be more direct and assertive in their language, using phrases like “I have to insist” or “You should do this.”

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Assertive communicators find a balance between expressing their needs without being domineering, so they may use phrases like “I think” or “What do you think?” Passive-aggressive communicators may be less direct and hint at their feelings through sarcasm or passive language.

6. Determine how they handle criticism

Pay attention to how your partner responds when they receive criticism. Do they take it well or become defensive? Are they open to constructive feedback or shut down and refuse communication?

If your partner isn’t open to hearing criticism or suggestions, this could suggest a more passive communication style. Alternatively, if your partner is receptive and willing to discuss their mistakes, it could signal a more assertive communication style.

Identifying your partner’s communication style can be valuable in strengthening your connection and improving overall satisfaction in the relationship. Discover other communication tips to help you maintain a strong connection with those you love.

  1. De Netto, P. M., Quek, K. F., & Golden, K. J. (2021). Communication, the Heart of a Relationship: Examining Capitalization, Accommodation, and Self-Construal on Relationship Satisfaction. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 767908. ↩︎

  2. Rusbult, C. E., and Van Lange, P. A. (2003). Interdependence, interaction, and relationships. Annu. Rev. Psychol. 54, 351–375. ↩︎ ↩︎

  3. Crowley, A. K. (2006). The relationship of adult attachment style and interactive conflict styles to marital satisfaction (Master’s dissertation). Texas AandM University, Houston, TX, United States. ↩︎

  4. DfE. (2019). Relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education. ↩︎

  5. Park, S. G., & Park, K. H. (2018). Correlation between nonverbal communication and objective structured clinical examination score in medical students. Korean journal of medical education, 30(3), 199–208. ↩︎

  6. Gurman, A. S. (2008). A framework for the comparative study of couple therapy. In Alan S Gurman (Ed.), Clinical handbook of couple therapy (4th ed., pp. 1-30). New York, NY: Guilford Press. ↩︎

  7. Fitch W. T. (2011). Unity and diversity in human language. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 366(1563), 376–388. ↩︎

Author picture of Amy Clark
Relationship Expert

Amy Clark

Amy Clark is a freelance writer who writes about relationships, marriage, and family. She has been happily married for over ten years and loves her husband and three kids. Before …

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