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Old 03-15-2012, 01:08 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Pennsyl-tucky
Posts: 1,851
Default Communication Styles

Originally Posted by Phy View Post
...I sometimes don't get it. It's as simple as that. I sometimes need someone pointing out to me what I have caused by behaving like this or like that. Therefore, no, it shouldn't be a responsibility, but it can help to bear in mind if a person is bad at picking up signals from others in special situations. I am often made aware of my shortcomings in regard to interaction with others, and I am extremely thankful to my close friends and family minding it...there are situations I don't get the reason why someone is upset by something I did or said. And it is helpful to be reminded of that.
It took me a while, and some frustration, to realize that I had to communicate with Dude in a different "language" than I use with MrS. He is absolutely horrible with picking up any signals that aren't flashing neon with a siren blaring (especially if it is a circumstance where he wouldn't be upset, then he doesn't see why anyone would be upset). Apparently it never occurred to him, or he has never experienced a relationship, where someone could just state their feelings without having a hissy-fit/temper-tantrum and still expect to have those feelings respected. (Not saying this is you, dear BlackUnicorn)

An example, the way the house is set up whenever I get up off the couch (where my computer is) and go to the kitchen or beer fridge or library, I pass behind the boys' computer chairs. Dude would inevitable grab me for a kiss/cuddle every time I walked by (either direction). One night I was trying to get stuff done and had to get up every few minutes to go dig up something in the library. After a while the constant interruption was getting distracting so I said "Dude, this is annoying, you don't have to kiss me everytime I get off the couch - I'm trying to get stuff done." Next time - he reaches for me again - now I am getting pissed...

A while later I bring it up as an example of a time when he didn't listen to me and he says "But you weren't really annoyed. You were just teasing." I had to explain in detail that, yes, I was annoyed - he was impeding me getting something done that I felt was important. And the way that you can tell is that I SAID I was annoyed. I asked him if I had ever before TOLD him that I was annoyed? He admitted that, no, I had not, but that HE would not be annoyed by that, so he didn't think that I should be. Grrrr...I told him that in the future if I said I was annoyed he should just take it at face value and not wait until I got mad and made a scene before he believed me.

(It helps to know that I hate confrontation and will NOT make a scene if there are any "outsiders" present.")

Second example of different communication styles. We (all three) are out at a bar at the local casino. We were having fun but the boys were getting drunk...and loud. This is a town where I work so I feel the need to be a little discrete. With MrS - I can raise my eyebrows, give his hand a firm squeeze, and, looking him directly in the eye say quietly, but firmly, "Enough." And the message is conveyed. With Dude it progressed through: "Enough." "Dude you are making me uncomfortable and it is pissing me off." to taking him aside and saying "I am mad at you and if you continue to behave in this fashion I am going to leave." And he still didn't get it because he didn't see a problem...Double Grrrr....we had a LONG discussion about this one the next day.

Now, before you say "Jeesh, how do you put up with THAT!?" A nice thing, though, is that once Dude has processed what you have said - once you spell it out in excrutiating detail as to WHY you were annoyed/upset/mad and what specific behavior you want changed...and he actually understands the effect that it has on you - then it's DONE. You will never have that misunderstanding again, and THAT is nice.

(So ... MrS will change his behavior at that moment because you want him to, but because he may not understand the underlying reasons, you may have to ask again later. Dude doesn't change the behavior until he understands the underlying reasons, but then then he gets the message permanently...each of these has its advantages but I have to learn how to communicate with each person in the way that they understand.)

Sorry for the essay - but I was actually just thinking about this today and your post hit a nerve.

Me: poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" V-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (24+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (6+ yrs) and MrS's BFF
SLeW: platonic hetero girlfriend and BFF
MrClean: hetero mono male, almost lover-friend to me, FWBs to SLeW
+ "others" = FBs, FWBs, lover-friends, platonic G/BFs, boytoys, etc.

My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe
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