Whether or not you're neurodivergent, many different communication styles exist. Different families, cultures, and social environments can all impact how someone communicates.
It’s important to remember that having a different communication style is kind of like speaking a different language - it’s not better or worse than any other language, it’s just different.
Learning more about your communication style, and the styles of those around you can help bring you closer and avoid misunderstandings.
There are many different facets to communication. Let’s look at some examples of different communication styles.
A love language is a way that a person wants to show love and also a way that a person feels loved.
Love languages include:
Words of affirmation: Giving or receiving compliments
Touch: Showing love by hugging and being physically affectionate
Acts of service: Doing things for others
Gifts: Giving or receiving gifts
Quality time: Spending time together, or making time for another person
When we understand love languages, it can help us to notice how our friends and partners express love to us and give us an indication of perhaps how we can express our love for them.
So ask yourself:
How how do you feel loved?
What can people do for you to help you feel loved?
How do you show other people that you love and that you care about them?
When you know the answers to these questions, you can communicate that to partners, friends and others.
You can ask these questions to the people in your life to understand them better.
Direct vs. Indirect communication
Direct communication is when someone is saying exactly what they mean.
The goal is to give information. They aren't looking for hidden meaning, and they may not be taking into account cultural differences or what is considered "polite".
Indirect communication is a style of communication that relies more heavily on cultural context, non-verbal cues and "reading between the lines".
Indirect communication often attempts to avoid conflict or uncomfortable situations by not responding directly. These can be very frustrating for people who do not communicate indirectly. And direct communication can come across as quite rude and abrasive to those who are not familiar with or comfortable with direct communication.
This form of "self' talk can be very popular among neurodivergent people and often we do not even realise.
For example, someone you care about is explaining a situation or telling the story of what happened to them. You may want to show that you understand what that person is going through.
So you tell a story about a time that you went through a very similar situation Only your friend seems bored, frustrated, or tries to change the conversation?
The impulse behind this may be to connect and show empathy, but for some people, this can feel like you are dominating the conversation or changing the subject to focus on yourself.
If relating back to personal experiences and interests is part of your communication style, you may want to check in with the people in your life to see if they share this trait. You may also wish sometimes to think about whether it is the right time to refer to your own experience, or if it might be better to just listen - especially if the person is disclosing that they are upset.