Basic Communication May Not Be So Basic: Is This You or Someone You Know?

Communication is at the heart of what we do. This article will explain different communication styles and why they’re employed. The accompanying video can be found here.

We utilized our voice, even before we could speak, by crying to have our needs met. I’ve heard from parents they could differentiate what their baby needed by the pitch or tone of their baby’s cry. They were able to discern if their baby was wet, hungry, wanted to be played with and talked to, or held and rocked. As adults, we do the same thing with words. Our tone may change. The inflections in our voice fluctuates.

Poor communication manifests in a variety of ways and they continue to work for the person to have their desires met. The example of a crying baby, eventually their need was met i.e. a changed diaper, fed, held, or played with. As adults we may want someone’s attention, to be left alone, want someone to do something for us, or want our opinion and beliefs to be heard and validated.

Poor communication becomes a learned pattern of behavior because caregivers may consistently yield to the demands of an unruly child. The child grows up into a demanding and entitled adult. An aggressive person gets their way by instilling fear or frustration in others; people give in to them for them to be quiet and leave them alone. As you can see, childhood behaviors carry over into adulthood.

What’s good to know is that learned behaviors can be unlearned. You may know within yourself you can communicate more effectively. Or maybe a few people close to you have told you your approach is unwelcoming or insensitive. Learned lessons and behaviors can be unlearned and new behaviors implemented into your life if you’re aware of them and desire and commit to personal change.

Some examples of poor communication and why:

Passive-aggressive speech. They speak in agreeable terms, although their mannerisms indicate otherwise. They may do this out of fear of rejection, or they may be concerned about not feeling emotionally supported. The problem this person faces is locking themselves into doing things they don’t want to do. It’s okay to make your desires and wants known. People who care about you will understand.

Dishonest or deceptive explanations. This person uses this communication style out of fear of not being validated for speaking their truth. They need to understand their voice is worth being heard and to surround themselves with people who appreciate them for who they are. Or they don’t want to speak their truth because they think it may hurt someone’s feelings. This person may have yet to learn how to make their words more palatable. I shared a personal story about this, and being brutally honest, in my video.

Some people seem to be dishonest when they don’t give clear answers. They may lack self-awareness. They don’t know what they like or dislike and, therefore, are unable to convey that information to you. They would benefit from soul searching their core being and learn to appreciate, and articulate, their opinions, desires, wants, and needs.

Lack of trust and guarded speech. This type of person shields their emotions and thoughts from others. They’ve built an emotional wall around themselves, so others aren’t able to get close enough to hurt them. What they fail to realize is the wall also keeps them locked inside. This person prevents themselves from learning how to emotionally connect with others because they’ve closed themselves off to receiving care and love. This person may then act out to gain attention while, at the same time, pushing people away. I’ve heard many people say, “I don’t trust anyone until they give me a reason to trust them.” I speak about this is in my video and explain why it’s problematic.

Aggressive speech. People who utilize this communication style believes their views are universal truths. They have an entitled mindset, aren’t capable or willing to see things from varying perspectives, and or lack of compassion and empathy. Whatever the reason, this person has a lot to learn about themselves so they can then unlearn this negative communication pattern.

Demanding versus courteous. An example would be saying, “Give me that cup” versus “Can you hand me that cup?” “Get my coat out of the car” versus “Would you mind getting my coat from the car?” As children we’re told things i.e. clean your room, do your chores, finish your homework. Even so, most of us were taught to speak respectfully to our elders and other people in general. We were taught to ask and not demand things. In the video, I was curious as to why some people learn to be courteous while others learn to be demanding. An easy answer would be it was learned later in life. They realized being demanding ensured their desires were met, or it was a quicker way to get what they wanted, and it became a way of life for them.

I’d love to read your thoughts on this article and the video if you watched it. Does any of what was discussed resonate with you? Do you know people who communicate in the ways described? Do you see yourself in the words you’ve read (or heard in the video)?

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I journeyed from GED to a PhD in Psychology. I decided to focus on my writing once I retired from the clinical field. I write in various genres and have several WIPs for publication once edited. I post articles on this website for intellectual and entertainment purposes.

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