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Improve Communication in Your Relationships Starting Today

hearth & home home and hearth personality & relationships podcast Feb 15, 2024
Four Piece Puzzle for the blog post Improve Communicaton in Your Relationships Starting Today with the text Relationship Communicaton Secrets


The DISC personality model of behavior is designed to help you improve communication in your relationships and create a happier, more harmonious life with your spouse/life partners,/significant other and more. This is a juicy topic that can truly change your life in every way and revolutionize the way you communicate with your partner and perhaps everyone else in your life.  You can also listen to the podcast for this blog post that goes into deeper detail.

For this and all blog posts we refer to people as D or Driven, I or Inspired, S or Supportive, and C or Cautious, and each of these personality types has unique characteristics when it comes to their communication style.

Imagine you're having a discussion with your partner about an important decision. You present your ideas in a direct and assertive manner because you're a Driven personality type. But guess what? Your spouse is a Supportive personality type who prefers a more calm and collaborative approach. You give the information and want a quick answer. They need some time to think things over and see how your ideas feel to them. Can you see the potential for miscommunication and frustration here? Understanding personality types makes it easier to bridge the communication gaps that often happen in partnerships because they have different personality types. 

Very often, we are attracted to someone who shares one of personality types which helps us to bond through shared values, but because we’re all blends of personality types with varying degrees of intensity, we often end up with people who share one personality type and then have an opposite personality type in their makeup. When we’re in balance, that is a very good thing. When we’re out of balance, that’s where a good deal of conflict happens, unless you’re both D types, and you may create conflict just for fun, but that's not true for other personality types.

A Driven personality, loves a bit of conflict and stirring the pot, and if they have a worthy opponent, all the better. Some couples love to spar and fuss and fight and really get passionate about holding their ground and making their point. They may yell and scream at the one they love the most, but in the end, the make-up portion of the confrontation is as passionate as the confrontation part, and that works for them.

D personalities love it when people are direct and to the point. They focus on results, take charge of most situations and thrive on getting things done efficiently. When other personalities communicate with them, here’s where things can go awry with the other personalities.

An I personality, loves connecting and telling stories and can take entirely too long for the D personality to get to the point. The D person may enjoy their stories at times, but if they have a decision to make and need the Inspired personality's input, the more succinct the answer, the better. They aren’t looking to connect like the I personality is. They’re merely looking for quick data, and if the Inspired personality rambles on, they’re likely to stop them and ask them to get to the point.

If you’re a D person looking for a quick answer from an I person, tell them that up front. Tell them you don’t have time for a conversation at the moment and need a quick answer from them. If possible, give them a yes or no question or ask them to answer in 100 words or less. That may sound ridiculous to you because you tend to be direct and to the point, but asking the Inspired person to respond in 100 words or less is a great clue to the I personality that you are in a hurry and need their best, quick answer.

If you’re an S personality, it’s in your nature to be supportive, but you tend to speak indirectly and help the other person infer what you mean. That annoys a Driven person at best and infuriates them at worst. It’s often why the D personality appears mean to the S personality, because the Driven person’s directness can be jarring to the sweet and unassuming Supportive personality. So, if you’re an S person dealing with a Driven person, do your best to be direct when answering questions. I know that isn’t always an easy task, but trust me, for you, it’s better than dealing with a frustrated outburst from a Driven person because they are not sure what you want from them. If you are a D person dealing with a Supportive personality, ask questions that require direct answers. Asking an S personality what they think about something without giving them some type of parameter of what you want in the answer is an invitation for the S personality to be vague and indirect.  

What do I mean by that? Let’s say you want to paint a room, and you want the S personality's color preference. They will not tell you without a reference, so here’s a great way to approach it. "Hey Supportive Person, we need to paint the conference room. So far, the colors dark gray, light gray, white and light blue have been suggested. Which two of those do you think would work best, or do you have another suggestion?" When they give their answer, you can ask them why they chose those colors, and they will probably have some reason, but by limiting the choices, you hone in on their answer without pressuring them. When you can do this, you gain the trust and appreciation of the S personality, and probably their loyalty too.

With the C personality dealing with the Driven personality, you love your facts and deep dives, and if you start sharing your vast knowledge with the Driven person when they want a quick answer, it’s going to agitate them. If you’re a D person dealing with a fact loving Cautious personality, like with the I personality, you fare better by laying out the parameters in the beginning. Using the same scenario with the paint, a Cautious person may actually know the reasons for choosing certain colors for certain situations, and it could be quite valuable information to have. They may know that choosing light blue over dark gray could have a different effect on the people in the room because at some point, the C person has done a deep dive into color theory and knows more about colors than you would ever want to know in a lifetime. So what do you do? You use a combination of the S and I strategies.. 

First, let the Cautious person know that you’re in a hurry and while they don’t necessarily like to make decisions quickly, you need an answer quickly to the question, but they are welcome to give you the data they are basing their decision on in an email. That allows you to get a quick answer, hopefully, and allows the C personality the opportunity to expand on the answer, and you might be surprised when you scan the email, and we know you’re just going to scan the email, that you get the exact input you need to make a final and informed decision. Even better, if you let the C personality give both their answer and their explanation in an email by a deadline, that's will be better, even if that deadline is as little as 30 minutes because it gives the C person time to collect themselves and think through their answer.

As the C person dealing with the D person, do try to keep your responses succinct with the offer to provide more detail at a later time or in written form, and if it is in written form, make the information as succinct as you can, especially with the D personality. Bullet points are your friend, and if you had to print it, make sure it’s less than one page if you want the D person to consider what you share at all.

This is not to say that we base all of our communication on how the Driven person prefers things, but it does provide ways to communicate better with those people, and we’ll have even more tips for each personality type as we move forward.

So let’s move on to the Inspired personality.  I personalities enjoy social interaction, love to express themselves and are natural storytellers. When they have space to do that they thrive. When you engage with their stories it gives them life in a way that it does no other personality. Have you ever heard a comedian talk about the first time they made someone laugh or the first time they made an entire audience laugh? It can be intoxicating for them, and trust me every comedian out there has at least some I personality in their makeup.

If you're a D personality, there are definitely times that you need to get the quick answer and move on, but if you want to develop a relationship of trust with an I person, listen to them. Because they tell stories to illustrate a point rather than give data, sometimes I personalities are dismissed as being less intelligent by those who love the facts and data. I can assure you that just because they cannot access the facts and data at will, it doesn’t mean Inspired people are incapable of assimilating and using that data, so beware of underestimating them in that way. If you are an I personality, it is helpful to make notes about where you get your information because there are some people that will not believe you unless you can cite a source.

With two I personalities, you can chat all day and make no progress, and in some cases, that is perfectly fine. In other cases, you may have to actually separate or use headphones if you’re trying to work side by side because you're definitely having fun, but are you getting anything done?. Set timers. Use headphones or whatever it takes to finish a task if that's what you need to do because as much fun as it is to hang with another outgoing, fun loving Inspired person, your relationship will become it's best when you figure out how to get things done and have as much fun as you can in the process.

For the I personality type dealing with the S personality type, it’s good to stay aware that the I person likes to talk and the S person likes to listen, so if the talking and listening is of mutual benefit, great. If the I personality is unbalanced and unaware that the S personality is trying to end the interaction, tension can arise because the S personality doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, but they may have someone else they’re trying to serve in some capacity as well. So if you’re an Inspired personality, be aware of the amount of time you’re spending with an S personality, knowing that they always have others they are trying to serve, and if you’re an S personality, as hard as it is for you, let the I personality know that you have to go, and if it’s for a commitment to another person, the I person will totally understand and not judge you for it. Also, if you’re an I personality, it’s helpful with everyone, but especially the S personality, to ask, is this a good time or do you have time for a chat/story. Try it and see what happens.

When it comes to the Inspired and Cautious personalities, this one can be tricky because the I person tends to be a free spirit who loves to go with the flow and is delighted by spontaneity where the Cautious personality prefers to control the flow with a lovely schedule and few surprises. When each personality type is able to appreciate what the other brings to the table, magic happens. In general the I personality helps the sometimes overly serious C personality lighten up, while the ever pragmatic C personality helps keep the Inspired personality grounded. The truth is that I cannot think of a better way to characterize the way the I and C personalities can get along.

The I person needs to understand that the C person isn’t always being negative. They are wired to think about all scenarios, good and bad that can happen. If they’ve been raised by people who are grounded and hopeful, they will be more likely to buy into the I personality’s natural optimism, and together, they can move mountains. If they’ve been raised by people who taught them to be scared and angry, that relationship may take more work, but it’s truly worth it if you want to learn and grow from your relationship.

Moving on to the Supportive personality, you love having calm, harmonious relationships. You are the creators of safe spaces for those you love where people can have respectful dialogue, rest their weary bones and take a quick time out from the harsh realities of life.

In relationships, you love to defer to the Driven personality to make decisions. I remember one of my sons saying that his wife, who has S as her primary personality type, would never choose where to go for dinner, so he always had to be the one to choose, and although he has a healthy dose of D in his personality type, he felt bad because he was concerned she was going along with his decision even if she really didn't want to. I remember telling him that because of her personality type, his wife truly didn’t care to make that decision, but if he wanted to make sure to include his wife in the process, he could offer two choices that he wanted and ask for her to help him decide between the two. If she didn't want to decide, then he could make the decision or flip a coin. Either way, problem solved.

With the I and the S personalities, as I said before one likes to talk and one likes to listen, and that can be great most of the time, but if you’re an S person, you likely struggle with boundaries until you’re forced to do something, and then you either become resentful or overwhelmed, and neither is good for you. If  you tell an I person you have about 15 minutes, they’re going to talk 20 or more, because unless there is a hard stop, they keep going. It is actually kinder if you set a boundary so the Inspired person doesn't overstep because Inspired people are not always the best at understanding S speak.

What is S speak? It’s the hints you drop, expecting the I personality to understand what you’re saying, and they don’t. It’s so much better to say to an I person, I have 15 minutes to chat, and then I have to go… insert whatever reason you have to go… so do you want to set a timer or should I? That might sound mean to you, but trust me, most Inspired personalities would prefer that to hints, and you get practice setting a loving boundary that helps you both.

With the Supportive and Cautious personalities, you’re both reserved, so you don’t want to make waves, but while the S personality will let things slide to keep the peace, the C personality believes that rules exist for a reason and everyone should follow them, except for the stupid ones. More on that in a bit. The problem for these two is that when the peace is disturbed, so is the Supportive person, and when the rules are broken, so is the Cautious person’s trust, so whenever you’re embarking on a relationship, it’s to both your benefit to discuss your values early in the relationship to see where there might be sticky points. While many of them can be overcome, the C personality will most definitely have things that are non-negotiable, and it’s to everyone’s benefit to find that out sooner rather than later. That also gives the Supportive person the opportunity to make decisions about the relationship without pressure, and that is something the S person truly appreciates.

Finally, we have the Cautious personality, who is analytical, detail oriented, organized and accurate about nearly everything. You love it when things are well researched and logical, which is why relationships can sometimes be challenging for you because these other humans can be so emotional, illogical and unpredictable.

When a Cautious and a Driven person are in a relationship, they both bring a task orientation to the table. They can often talk about things logically, until the C personality tells the D personality no about something they really want, and then things might get a little heated. Let’s say that a D person wants to move, but the C personality knows they don’t have the funds for that.

The more impulsive D personality can try to overwhelm the C personality with reasons that have no basis in fact, which will only cause more frustration on both sides as each one digs in their heels, so a better thing to do would be for the C personality to research the possibilities before any decisions are made.

The C personality finds comfort in the data, and the Driven personality can benefit from the data if it’s presented in a direct and succinct way. Even if there is extensive data, it behooves the C personality to make things short and sweet for the D personality. Show them the bottom line, and if they argue, offer to share the deeper dive that led you to that conclusion. To other personalities, this may sound like an argument in the making, but trust me, done well, this is like a symphony for the C and D personalities to communicate better because it addresses both their needs.

When it comes to the Cautious personality with the I personality, this can be a match made in Heaven or feel like Hell on Earth. These two need each other because the C personality loves data and details, and that is where the I personality is usually less than stellar, unless they love the subject they’re dealing with. The C personality needs the I personality to help them know when enough is enough and when to move on from research to the decision making process. 


To hear a personal story about the I and C personalities, check out the video at 21:20 above.

With the C and S personalities, stick with the above video for an additional story to see how the S and C personalities can get along with little effort on both their part.

With two C personalities, this can be a very interesting dynamic because both people live by a set of rules, but the sticky part comes when the rules are different. It can also be sticky when their blends don’t mesh up.

For instance, I know two women who were sometimes the best of friends and sometimes the worst of enemies, and it wasn’t until I understood personalities that I got why that happened. You see, they are both C personalities with rules for life and most of their rules were the same, but one had D in their personality makeup, making them a C/D and one had S in their personality making them a C/S.  So, when their life rules were violated, one was direct and up front about it because that’s the way they thought it should be. The other preferred to step back, regroup and let things slide unless it was something major. Neither liked the way the other responded, and it would often end up in an argument and them not speaking to one another for weeks or months. Then, they would make up and resume their friendship. I found that fascinating, but what I learned was that it worked for them. They didn’t mind being at odds and then becoming friends again later. Once again, it worked for them, so who am I to judge?

So, do you see yourself and anyone you have a relationship in this? I’ll bet you do, and if you would like to take your own relationship to the next level, it all starts with a personality assessment. The beauty of the assessment is not to label or limit anyone but to help you understand yourself and others better to create stronger connections and relationships.

Click here to figure out which assessment you want to take, then schedule your Personalized Personality Strategy Session by clicking here. For the months of February and June, if your significant other takes an assessment, you can do a 2 for 1 special and bring them to the Strategy Session for no extra charge. While you’re on the website, make sure to  join our email community for all the good things to come. Love you all and see you next time!


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