Post # 1
So my DH and I have been struggling on and off with our communication styles, and I finally found an article about what our issue is! Unfortunately there wasn’t a discussion regarding solutions for this problem. It turns out that DH is an Indirect communicator where I am a Direct communicator. (Long, Main Question at the End)
There is an event coming up that we don’t want to go to:
My Direct response “I don’t want to go”
DH’s Indirect response “It’s far away”
It is very frustrating to me that he will be indirect when asked specific questions, like I am SO unreasonable that his disagreement would start a fight. Worse still, sometimes he will immediately disagree internally but not say ANYTHING, where I will assume his answer one way or another based on what i THOUGHT he meant by a hand gesture or nod, and then we get into a fight later usually when I took action and he felt that we hadn’t agreed on something. Or also that I missed some cue, or comment that he meant to indicate his idea/decision.
We had a big fight about it recently, and he acknowledged that he saw my point about not understanding him sometimes, but now we’re not sure what to do about it! It feels rude for me to ask him eight follow up questions about something seemingly simple, and he gets frustrated, but I never know if hes being indirect and ‘hiding’ an answer or if he really doesn’t care one way or another.
So basically it turns out this is how people are built/raised and I am just NOT used to it.
So, what are you? Direct or Indirect? Has anyone experienced this themselves? what do you do to combat it?
Post # 3
@edgebee: DH and I are both generally direct. I used to be indirect, it caused problems, because he didn’t understand me. We talked about it, I came to understand how misleading my communication could be, and I changed. It sounds so simple like that, but it definitely took him reminding me and a few mishaps/arguments before we got our communication sorted out. I still revert back to indirect when I’m with his parents, haha! His mother corners me and tries to get me to agree to things since she knows I can’t say “no.” Now I just avoid her like the plague 😉 And trying to tell his dad that I don’t want to eat at the all-meat-only-meat joint in town is nearly impossible– I usually say “it’s probably busy” or “it’s so expensive” or “it’s too loud for our daughter” but that generally doesn’t work and we eat there anyway, yuck. Eh, I’m a work in progress!
ETA: Rambling aside, what worked for us: identifying the problem, me admitting/agreeing/understanding why my communication wasn’t effective, and fixing it (with the help of him reminding me) while trying to not get mad at him (for nagging me, aka reminding)
Post # 4
@newlynesting: I just feel like I should be able to do more, I hate putting it all on him to ‘fix’. Were there any things your DH did/does to make it easier for you?
Post # 5
@edgebee: Mr. 99 and I are both Direct Communicators..so it works, but in our lives, we are surrounded by people that are Indirect…and I think the best thing you can do to help dissuade your anger is understand that this isn’t just about communication…its an entirely different though process.
Let’s take your example: There’s an event, next weekend, its an hour drive each way and you know a handful of people going.
Direct Communicators go from A – Z….and make a decision: I don’t want to go.
Indirect Communicators quantify things on a different level…a step by step process….so
It’s far away (that’s bad)
We know some people going though…(that’s good)
Its next weekend (we still have time to decide)
….they literally don’t know, until they know….but the responses you’re getting are in fact exactly what they’re thinking…they just think differently is all.
Post # 6
@edgebee: Depends on my audience, honestly. Generally, I know or can tell what approach will get me the desired response with different people, so I tailor my tone and words to that. It completely depends on who I’m talking to and what I’m trying to accomplish.
Post # 7
@edgebee: Haha, no, not really. It was kind of a cold turkey thing and I had a hard time not getting mad at him initially. Every time I would do it he would mention it. In all fairness, I asked him to be brutally specific/nit-picky because part of the problem was that I didn’t realize I was doing it since it just felt like my natural communication. Our method may not work for everyone, and I think it worked for us because we were both at our wits end and knew that we needed to communicate better for our relationship to work. I had to give up a lot on the whole “he should understand what I mean by now” and “he should know what I mean”, eat some humble pie, and make a change.
Post # 8
I’m very direct and so is FI. Most women, I find, are much more indirect, so I have more problems communicating with them. I learn quickly what “it’s far away” really means, but I also feel pressure to talk like that back to them, at times. Some people find it offensive when you simply say what you mean. It can be frustrating, because I find that not saying what you mean feels weasely to me!
Post # 9
I am a direct type person, I don’t like there to be any confusion which can happen when you are indirect.
Post # 10
I’m a direct communicator and so is my husband, so we understand each other perfectly well. Dealing with indirect communicators frustrates me! It sometimes drives me so crazy (and my husband, too) that we have to talk to each other about what we just heard, to make sure neither of us are the crazy ones and it’s all the indirect communicator’s fault, lol. 😉
Post # 11
I live in Japan, so I have become extremely indirect, as that is thr culture. It’s made wedding planning in the US a challenge, as I struggle ot be direct with vendors. I’m sure once I’ve spent a few weeks out of Japan. My direct self will be back 🙂
Post # 12
I’m an indirect communicator, DH is direct. We do sometimes argue when he doesn’t get what I’m really trying to say or when I think he means something that he doesn’t. It has gotten better over time. I think acknowledging the problem has helped a lot. Nowadays I try to be more direct with him and also try not to read too much into anything he says. He has also gotten better in deciphering my words and actions.
I hope acknowledging this issue helps you also. I guess you can ask your DH to be more direct and remind him that you are not a mindreader. Since you now understand that he is an indirect communicator, try to decipher if he means yes or no by how positive/negative his comment is. For instance, if he doesn’t want to go to an event, he might say that it’s far away, or if he wants to go, then he might for instance say that the drive there would be nice.
Post # 13
I am definitely an indirect communicator, and FH has just learned to understand what I mean. He used to be more direct, but i found it very offputting and I think I am slowly dragging him to the dark side, for better or worse.
My whole family is indirect, they will not express their feelings, but will often tell a story that relates to the situation at hand, and expresses how they feel about it. LOL it took me a long time to realize not everyone interacts this way since everyone I knew growing up did it.
I actually find alot of direct communications a bit upsetting, the way they completely shut down a situation (No, I don’t want to go) because it feels like there is no room for discussion or for anyone else to have a different opinion. And it can come off rude too, when you mention you like X and the other person just says how much they hate X, instead of saying they would rather Y. How about not trashing my opinion just to make your point! It is really hard for me not to see it that way.
Post # 14
Straight, no chaser. I rarely see the point to beating around the bush. Thats why so many misunderstandings happen. A waste of time and energy. Say what you mean, and mean what you say, always works for me.
However, I’m sure my style can be off putting to some. Oh well, at least you can’t accuse me of being wishy, washy. I like having an opinion and not being afraid of making myself heard.
Post # 15
I’m definitely direct, almost offensively to some people *eyeroll*
sorry I don’t flower shit up. I only go indirect when I don’t want to deal with the reaction/backlash.
Post # 16
This is really interesting to me. I have NO idea how I communicate. I’m going to have to start paying attention. I’m really really indecisive but I don’t know if that means I’m an indirect communicator? I don’t feel like I’m trying to be indirect, I just truly do not know what I want in that exact moment. I’ll go back and forth, sometimes only for a minute or two, sometimes for hours.
I’m almost certain my SO is indirect. Now that I’m thinking about it, I realize why I find her so hard to communicate with sometimes.