POSITIVE COMMUNICATION TIPS FOR OPPOSITE TYPE COUPLES
Empathizers, half of whom are men, are driven by emotions. Instigators, half of whom are women, are driven by logic. Which one are you and your partner-to-be? Here are some tips from the TALK2ME© communication system to help strengthen communication between you and your opposite type communicator partner beyond the wedding and into your future:
Empathizer-to-Instigator: What to say when you need Instigators to listen and support you?
Empathizer: I need you to hear my feelings out because that helps me feel as if you are supporting me in our wedding planning. Furthermore, I need to feel supported because, as a female, I am expected to do most of the wedding planning.
(Empathizers need to hear words of praise).
Empathizer: I understand that feelings make you feel anxious, but when you tell me that I’m not being logical, I hear: “You don’t have a right to feel that way.” Please understand that we can both be right in how we think and feel.
(Instigators think predominantly using logic while Empathizers focus on emotions when communicating).
Empathizer: I may know that you appreciate all I am doing to make our wedding a success, but I need to hear that you appreciate the hard work I have put into the planning.
(Instigators feel their worth when they do things that need to be accomplished, but they may not realize how much Empathizers need a pat on the back).
Empathizer: I know you may feel that talking won’t solve the problem at hand, but right now I just need you to listen.
(As an Empathizer, what you may really want from your Instigator partner is for them to LISTEN, but you might suggest to them that they ask questions in order to help them focus on the conversation. They will then be able to gather a better understanding of what you need from them.)
Empathizer: Could you give me your advice/opinion on….
(Instigators love to give their opinions on things. Asking your I-type might be the best way to get their feedback about the wedding).
Instigator-to-Empathizer: What to say when you need Empathizers to stop talking and get the ball rolling?
Instigator: I know that talking helps you deal with the issue at hand, but what I need to hear from you is what you want me to do to help fix the problem.
(It might help if your Instigator partner tries to avoid distractions or multitasking during a discussion, so that they are able to better focus on what you are communicating to them.)
Instigator: It makes me feel helpless when you reiterate your feelings and I don’t know what you need me to do to help. What can I do?
Instigator: I know that your emotions are running high, but if you try to deal with this right now, chances are your emotions will get the best of you. Can I help you by trying to relay how you are feeling, but in a calmer, more collected manner?
(This could help if there are issues with vendors, and your partner knows, as an Empathizer, emotions might further complicate the situation.)
Instigator: I may need a while to think about this issue, because as a logic-based thinker, I need some time for thinking things through.
(As an Instigator, you don’t understand why your bride-to-be keeps asking your opinion on things and then getting upset when you don’t respond quickly.)
Instigator: Could you be more direct and state what it is you need done, and give me an absolute deadline by which it must be finished.
(It might be helpful as an Instigator to let your bride-to-be know that you will do something by a specific deadline, so you don’t feel like she’s nagging you. This also might help you feel good about checking something off your list…and it will also clue you in as to what she needs and when.)
Talk isn’t cheap…it’s priceless. You will avoid many collisions on Talk Highway by knowing the key differences and preferences of your opposite communicator type of Instigator vs. Empathizer.
‘Talk Doc’ Dr. Dennis O’Grady is a communications psychologist, coach and relationship counselor from Dayton, Ohio.