This article is based on an expert interview with Kelli Miller, LCSW, MSW, conducted by wikiHow Staff Editors. Kelli Miller is a Psychotherapist, Author, and TV/radio host based in Los Angeles, California. Kelli is currently in private practice and specializes in individual and couples' relationships, depression, anxiety, sexuality, communication, parenting, and more. Kelli also facilitates groups for those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction as well as anger management groups. As an author, she received a Next Generation Indie Book Award for her book "Thriving with ADHD: A Workbook for Kids" and also wrote "Professor Kelli's Guide to Finding a Husband". Kelli was a host on LA Talk Radio, a relationship expert for The Examiner, and speaks globally. You can also see her work on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/kellibmiller, Instagram @kellimillertherapy, and her website: www.kellimillertherapy.com. She received her MSW (Masters of Social Work) from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Sociology/Health from the University of Florida.
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If you and your partner have different communication styles, you can still make your relationship thrive: all it takes is a little compromise and a willingness to learn. In this video, Licensed Clinical Social Worker Kelli Miller explains why people communicate differently and how to use that information to better connect with your partner.
- Try not to take it personally if your partner doesn’t communicate with you in the way that you’d like—that’s likely just how they were taught to communicate as a child.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your partner about how they prefer to communicate and handle conflict.
- Be prepared to compromise and work toward finding a way of communicating that works for both of you.
Always try to best understand your partner’s specific communication styles. A lot of times we'll take it personally if we notice someone's avoiding us or they're communicating with us less frequently than we'd like, and this doesn't mean that they don't care about you or they don't respect you. This is likely how they were modeled communication as a child. Your partner's communication style typically comes from how their caregivers communicated with each other. You should feel comfortable asking your partner “How do you best handle conflict?” Also, some people struggle with verbal communication, so if that's the case, you may want to ask your partner to write down what they're feeling. And this way they won't feel so overwhelmed. Finally, know that communication requires compromise. So if you have a completely different communication style from your partner, know that it's going to be a work in progress until you figure out how you're both best going to communicate.