Thu | Jun 4, 2020

Relationship | How To Fix The Communication Problem

Published:Tuesday | July 4, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Today, we share with you how to deal with communication problems, which is one of the tell-tale signs that a relationship is in trouble. First, there is no single communication pattern that is right for all relationships.

Don't get hung up on what you see in the movies or how you see other couples communicate. Each relationship is unique, and the partners must establish what works for them.


Behavioural Styles


Behavioural preferences is a key factor impacting communication between partners.

People who are outgoing and 'people-oriented' (I style/yellow) are more likely to have frequent, interactive communication than people who are reserved and task-oriented (C style/blue).

However, that does not necessarily mean that I style relationships are more closely knit than C style, or is more likely to last.

Couples establish what works for them and are able to forge lasting and fulfilling relationships, regardless of behavioural style differences.


Mismatched Needs


Unfortunately, sometimes the partners are unable to establish a pattern of communication that works for both of them.

One common case is the challenge of someone with a preference for the S style (reserved/people-oriented/green) getting accustomed to the preferred communication approach of a D style (outgoing/task-oriented/red) partner.

The S style individual wants to get all the details. The D style individual thinks in bullet points and rushes to the bottom line.

"How was the wedding?" D Style response: "Successful."

Missing S style information include: Who was the best man/Who gave away the bride/Did you see anyone that we know/How was the reception ... .


Bigger picture


These relationships are able to flourish because the partners make a commitment to a larger purpose than their individual preferences.

They value the relationship and work to make it last and be mutually fulfilling. From that perspective, out of respect for each other, there is a subtle system of give and take.

When the system works, S style knows when not to press for information and D style musters up the patience to go beyond the bottom line.

That discipline is not always exercised, and so conflicts arise. It is at those times that the call to a higher order clicks in and harmonious coexistence is possible.

Is there a combination of behavioural styles that cannot work?

No. Investing in learning more about the behavioural style of your partner, and appreciating how you match up, clearly provide distinct advantages. However, all sorts of permutations have been made to work by dedicated partners.

Unfortunately, too many couples have lost their way before being able to figure out how to get the best from their relationship.

The value of an objective early matching of behavioural styles cannot be overstated.


Communication Security Fence


There is a simple but profound step that any couple can implement to ensure that communication does not derail their relationship. It is so obvious that you might think it is not a big deal. However, follow my advice and share your success with me.

Solution: Focus on developing shared interests!

If you share many interests, it is inevitable that you will talk about them in engaging ways and that provides a built-in communication buffer.

Here are fruitful shared interests:

1. Sports

Sports is the least expensive, most readily accessible and gender-neutral form of entertainment. If the couple gets attached to 2-3 sports teams or stars spread across the year, there will be no room for awkward silences.

2. Cable

Any series or movie that is acceptable to both parties provides talking points.

3. Exercise

Walk & talk. Follow an exercise routine on cable or DVD or at the gym. Bonus: Savour the outlet for the new energy.

4. Cooking

Build in male/female cook-offs to stimulate interest.

5. Reading

Join book clubs. Follow authors. Discover good reads. Share notes.


Bottom line


Commit to working on two of those shared interests and you are guaranteed to see a marked improvement in your relationship.

For a wealth of relationship advice that is different, go to: and related pages.

- Trevor E. S. Smith has published two relationship books and is a director of the Success with People Academy A SHRM preferred provider and home the SHRM-accredited 3-D Team Leader Certification: Leading difficult, dominant and diverse personalities. The Success with People Academy team are world-leading implementers of personal behavioural DNA analyses and 360 surveys on the revolutionary FinxS Platform from Extended DISC.