Extensive research and actual case studies about Life Languages™ reveal seven distinct communication styles that we all possess. But of course we don’t possess all seven equally. We’re as unique as our fingerprint or a snowflake. An infinite God can create infinite options for us. And He does.
Family members are different and they communicate in different ways. Sometimes it seems you’re just talking different languages altogether. That’s probably truer than you might realize. But there are predictable traits to improve your life and your relationships. If one’s preferred language (ranks higher than the others) is an Influencer and another family member is predominantly a Contemplator, there’s room for confusion and misunderstanding if you don’t understand the value in the differences. Neither is better or worse, right or wrong. But when you’re aware of the characteristics of each, how their subconscious filter processes information and conversations, you have a formula for a better relationship. Less stress. Fewer misunderstandings. A tool to defuse potential conflicts.
The Influencer loves communicating (ok they love to talk), they love social settings and having fun. They’re also intuitive and creative. Life was meant to be good! Their filter is “Are we communicating?” But the Contemplator’s filter is more interested in discerning if the information is valuable – “Am I really interested in this?”
The Contemplator is quiet and reserved, a thinker with a desire to know, study and … think. It takes a while longer to formulate an answer to a question and peace in situations is important. Communicating can be difficult. This gives ample opportunity for conflict when these two people interact. But their characteristics are predictable. They can play to each others’ strengths rather than being frustrated over their differences. The Influencer can recognize that the Contemplator needs more time to process new information and make a point of advance notice of events, family plans, or allowing more time to read a restaurant menu.
And make sure they’re focused enough to hear when you’re sharing plans. Make a point of slowing down enough to listen when the Contemplator does have something to say. It’s probably worth it! The Contemplator is a good listener – an awesome trait since the Influencer does talk a lot. The Contemplator can be uncomfortable in a highly social setting but if allowed to hang on the fringes and let the very social Influencer make the rounds and have a good time, they can both have a good time. I understand this combination very well because I’m the Influencer and my husband of 35 years is the Contemplator.
We’ve been known to go to large gatherings where he’d assess the room, find a comfy chair against a wall and tell me to go have a good time. He had a great time, left alone to his thoughts and his smart phone. I had a great time because I wasn’t worried about him being uncomfortable hanging and moving about with me. Please understand that we’re all a combination of the traits, tempered with the language type that is second and third. But first we needed to simply look at the primary traits.
That said, because there are seven and not seventy times seven, the predictable traits (both strengths and distress flares) are manageable. We’ll get into how this works in your favor in another post.