Communication Styles and Avoiding Conflict

I recently had a disagreement with a friend. I won’t go into the details, as I feel that might be unfair, but I will say that she didn’t feel she had my support and that I was being rude.

I was shocked that I was being called rude, because I am a very well mannered, polite and considerate individual. I felt as though I was supporting my friend, however, it was perceived by both her, and others around me, to be an unhelpful response.

I confided in another friend, who works as a life coach and she helped me to understand why I may have been seen as being rude. My communication style is direct and straightforward. My communication style would be described as ‘Director’ (Douglas, 2001). I don’t sugarcoat my words, and I take every opportunity to say with honesty and transparency what I think and feel. My friends are, on the whole, are similar communicators, and support me when I communicate like this. However, I learnt a critical lesson from this disagreement and I would like to share that lesson with you now.

The reason I was deemed to be unhelpful and rude was because I adopted my own communication style. I expected that to be appropriate, despite the fact that others, who have different communication styles, find certain types of communication unacceptable, and in this case rude. My friend may have adopted more of a Harmoniser’s style which makes her more sensitive to the feelings of others and more relationship orientated(Douglas, 2001).  

To resolve the issue, and avoid conflict in the future, it is my job to become a better communicator. Modifying your style of communicating will ensure a clearer line of communication between you and another person (Douglas, 2019). To become a more effective communicator you first need to identify what communication style your listener/recipient prefers, or is best suited to the individual or group, and then communicate in a way that is acceptable and preferable to him/her. You will then be in a position to influence and have a meaningful dialogue. Along with our words, we send out a lot of emotional information non-verbally, through our posture, facial expressions, tone of voice, eye contact, and various gestures (Pascale and Primavera, 2018).

Communication styles can be seen as behaviours and it is possible to change the way we behave in order to accommodate the wants and needs of others, avoid conflict and communicate effectively.

Do a google search and check out the resources below to find out more about how to identify communication styles. Good luck on your quest to become a better communicator!


Douglas, E. (2019). How to Modify Your Communication Style. [online] Straight Talk. Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2019].

Douglas, E. (2001). Straight talk. Sacramento, Calif.: LRI.

Pascale, R. and Primavera, L. (2018). The Importance of an Effective Communication Style. [online] Psychology Today. Available at: [Accessed 4 May 2019].

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