What's your relationship communication style?
14 February 2023
When people come together to form any type of relationship, the dynamic created is flavoured with a combination of each person’s history. Our friends, flat mates and partner’s behaviours can cause a reaction in us, and vice versa.
Moving away from home can be hard to adapt to, you will get to know other students that start off as strangers, meet new people at university and start to make friends at aparto. Learning how to communicate and how to form new healthy relationships whilst navigating student life can be tricky.
Relationship counselling service, Relate, states that communication is the heart of every relationship. They advise that the breakdown of communication is one of the most common reasons why couples turn to relationship therapy. We thought it would be interesting to reflect on the different ways people communicate in relationships and have created this fun guide as a way to help you identify what your communication style might be.
The summaries below use different animals to describe some common ways people communicate in relationships. We appreciate that everybody is totally unique; you may fully identify with more than one of the descriptions below, or you may identify with bits and pieces of several descriptions. You also may identify with none of them, and that's okay, too.
Keep in mind that this guide is just an informal exploration tool to help get you thinking about how you communicate within relationships. The following categories are not psychological profiles or clinical diagnoses, and they should not be used as such. These descriptions are just for fun and to help encourage personal reflection.
The lion is often the leader of the pack. In relationships, the lion prides itself in its upfront, honest, and authentic communication. The lion likes things to be balanced, so that everyone involved gets an equal chance to feed off the relationship. When necessary, the lion is able to assert its needs and desires while also keeping the needs of the other person and the relationship in mind.
The lion communicates with compassion and confidence. But this is not always received well by their partners. A lion's direct nature can sometimes cause their partners to feel uncomfortable in their presence. Sometimes, it can trigger feelings of jealousy.
Communicating with a lion: When communicating with a lion, it can be helpful to match them in authenticity and balance.
The bull’s communication style can be domineering; they can have a very “it’s my way or the highway” attitude. During disagreements, bulls tend to verbally charge at their partners and leave little space for the other person to get a word in. They also tend to physically remove themselves from the situation once they have said their piece, to avoid hearing the rebuttal.
Bulls may act similarly when communicating in general in the relationship. They may take up a lot of the communication time with their needs, stories, and views.
The bull struggles with being wrong, as they often view being wrong as a personal attack. And this can make communicating your needs to a bull extremely difficult. They often have a deep hurt that they are trying to hide and protect, and they do this using their aggressive communication style.
Communicating with a bull: The bull's way of communicating is often governed by feelings of fear. Remaining calm and offering comfort can be helpful when talking to or disagreeing with a bull.
The crocodile tends to be more covert in its communication, holding its thoughts and feelings inside - often until the bursting point. Therefore, it is easy for crocodiles to snap. When feeling hurt or disappointed by their partner, the crocodile tends to feel unable to express how they feel. They often worry about scaring their partner away with the intensity of their emotions. They can even be somewhat afraid of their own emotions, themselves.
Because of their tendency to withdraw and snap, crocodiles can be easily misunderstood by their partners.
In relationships, crocodiles like things to be “just right”. They are often very attuned to the needs of those around them. This drives them to conduct themselves in ways that they feel will please the needs of their partners and other loved ones.
Communicating with a crocodile: Pay attention and let them know when you can tell they are holding onto their emotions. Regularly encourage them to tell you how they feel, so that things don’t build up.
The ant is often seen as quiet and hardworking. Ants are devoted to their partners, and their communication heavily reflects this. Ants tend to tailor their communication around their partners' wants, needs, interests, and desires. This can leave their partners feeling very fulfilled.
Ants often feel unfulfilled in their relationships, because they struggle to communicate their own needs. Ants will often wait for their partner to inquire about the ant's needs, rather than vocalising their needs or wants on their own. When this doesn’t happen, or when it doesn’t happen often, ants can be left feeling unseen.
The ant does not like confrontation in its relationships and tries to avoid it at all costs. This means that they can sometimes overstretch themselves with the needs of their partner.
Communicating with an ant: Create a safe space for them to communicate their needs, and pay a genuine interest by asking open questions.
Do you recognise yourself in any of these communication styles? Perhaps you are a mixture of the animals we’ve used to describe certain characteristics? Or is there an animal that isn’t there, that describes you better?
If this article has affected you in any way, or if you just want to reach out about anything at all, you can do so by logging onto Kooth Student and sending a message to one of our team. The link to apartos Kooth platform, which is free for aparto students, can be found in your Facebook groups.