According to Lisa Merrick-Lawless, Stylist's therapist and founder of Headspace, within relationships it's useful to understand both of your styles for listening and speaking as well as processing information
To determine what kind of communicator you are, answer the following questions to determine your listening and speaking styles, then ask your partner the same questions and see what response you get.
If someone you knew quite well told you they were thirsty would you:
a) think that’s interesting information
b) go and get them a drink
If you answered a) then you are a ‘literal listener’ and b) then you are an ’inferential listener’. Literal listeners take the things they hear at face value, they don’t read anything into what is said, they just take the words very literally. Inferential listeners will try to work out what they think was meant by what was said, they put their own interpretation on it and often assume it implies some action needs to be taken by them.
If someone you knew well did something pretty badly would you:
a) tell them, its important that they know
b) Ask them how they thought it went and wait for them to tell you
If you answered a) then you are a literal speaker and b) an inferential speaker. A literal speaker will say exactly what they mean, whereas an inferential speaker will weave around a topic hoping you can guess or work out what they think.
The thing to remember in all of this is that there is no right or wrong and no ‘better’ way to be, we are all different. It can be very useful in a relationship to understand which metaprogramme your partner runs in each of these areas to understand them better and stop you getting so frustrated if they have different communication methods to you.
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