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Is Your Communication Style Actually Ruining Your Relationship?

Updated: Mar 25

Did you know that your communication style could simply be causing you difficulties, but your relationship is fine? If you’re curious about how your communication style plays into your relationship, here’s a quiz offering some insight. Share it with your partner and see how it helps you finally understand one another. 


Listen to what Shira and Ryan learned today about communicating with the people they are seeing and dating; from our new segment Hear Me Out with gay relationship therapists Sam Garanzini & Alapaki Yee...

For those who can’t listen to the audio, here’s the entire transcript -

Shira: The question I have for you is, do you have issues communicating with your booty call or long term relationship?

Ryan: Are you holding a mirror up to yourself?

Shira: Well ... Shut up. We've got a team of therapists ready to help you out, or me out. Yeah.

Ryan: (laughs).

Shira: Joining us for our new segment called Hear Me Out, Sam Garanzini and Alapaki Yee from the Gay Couples Institute, welcome back to the show.

Alapaki Yee: Hello.

Sam Garanzini: Awesome to be here, thank you.

Shira: Hi. Well-

Alapaki Yee: Hi, it's good to see you guys again.

Shira: Excited to have you here. Yeah, you always have a lot of wisdom and you help us all out.

Ryan: For sure.

Shira: So let's, uh, talk about communication style. We're going to start with the casual relationship, I think 'cause we always talk about long term relationships. Let's not assume that everyone is in a long term relationship.

Ryan: Yeah.

Shira: Or maybe we might have people who are in open relationships, and all the other things out there.

Ryan: Let's not add the difficult.

Shira: I'm just saying.

Ryan: It's like, relationships shouldn't be a Rubik's cube, but sometimes it can be.

Shira: So, I guess there are ... I know you guys have four main communication styles that people have. Let's start off with that. What are they?

Sam Garanzini: Um, so they are the ... what we call the referee, which is a communication style where you really value fairness, and kind of like good conflict management. There's the sensualist, where your primary values as you talk and as you receive, uh, communication from other people you're evaluating just the- the amount of the bond, and especially the physical bond that you feel with somebody else.

There's the connector, which is, this is somebody that focuses a lot on their- their needs and getting, and meeting other people's needs, and staying super perceptive about that. And then the last one is what I, what we call the guardian, which is somebody that's heavily focused on trust and kind of bonding with one a- one another, and just feeling really close to people and secure.

Shira: And so, yeah.

Sam Garanzini: Because those four things came out of the 2,000 couples that went through the institute already.

Shira: Okay, so what if people are not any of those things? Or I guess, like what I find is when I'm in more of a casual situation, I find maybe I'm a referee, but I'm playing in my own game. (laughs).

Ryan: (laughs).

Shira: Or there's no game at all. (laughs).

Sam Garanzini: Yeah, and that's exactly why we created a quiz, to help people figure out, you know, what's your style, so that when you approach a potential partner in a casual relationship. Like, let's say you sit down, you're getting to know somebody. You're not sure where this is gonna go. You might be heavily focused, like you said you're the referee, and you kind of like to debate. You kind of like to have it out, you like to see. You want to know what's their opinion.

Shira: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sam Garanzini: And you- you like to talk about those kind of things. And if they come back at you as somebody who's kind of a sensualist, and they just kind of want to touch and cuddle, and they don't really want to get into a big thing about things, you might end up thinking, you know this person's really not for me. When really we all have the access to all of the styles.

And it's not even in a casual basis that you should eliminate, uh, uh, moving forward with this person. You just gotta appreciate that they're coming from a different place as the two of you get to know each other.

Shira: Oh.

Ryan: Well, if, I guess, and then that kind of brings me to this, if you guys, if- if it just seems like you guys aren't, like, obviously bonding on the communication style, and you kind of are over them kind of always diverting having full on con- like conversations and that can affect your relationships at all.

Shira: At all. (laughs). They just want to hook up maybe.

Ryan: Yeah.

Shira: Yeah.

Ryan: Do you just kind of leave that situation, because then where- where do you, I guess, come on the common ground of like saying, alright well I worked on it, but then if they're not giving you what they need, why stay in something.

Shira: What you need.

Ryan: Uh, yeah, what you need.

Sam Garanzini: And- and, um, that's exactly why we put this together. It's like there does seem to be some kind of ... I mean, after a while, you're gonna either see that person start to come toward your style, a little bit, or entertain your style of, you know, seeing the world and engaging you. But if they're not, and this feels really unilateral, then you're gonna back off and it's not gonna work. And you're gonna know that pretty quick, especially when you know what all four styles are.

Shira: I love this. Alright, well, we wanna also talk about how to talk and communicate to get more action in your relationship. And I would say the long term relationship, because that's where things, uh, fizzle out. So that's coming up next with our therapists Sam Garanzini and Alapaki Yee from the Gay Couples Institute. We are continuing with our segment we're calling Hear Me Out. Where we all get to vent about what's going on in our love lives, or non love lives.

Ryan: And the three- the free therapy that we get.

Shira: Yeah, from Sam Garanzini and Alapaki Yee from the Gay Couples Institute. Welcome back.

Ryan: Fix our life, please.

Alapaki Yee: Ha, ha. Happy to be here.

Sam Garanzini: Hello.

Shira: So, before the break we were talking about, which I found really fascinating, is four main communication styles that people have, which does remind me a bit of like lug- love languages, but sometimes I find it's hard, like, that made more sense, and was more clear where I fit versus love languages. I'm like, I'm a bit of everything.

Sam Garanzini: Right the-

Shira: Which I know we float around depending on the dynamic, you know.

Sam Garanzini: Yeah, the love languages really isn't based on any research, um.

Shira: Okay.

Sam Garanzini: That- that-

Ryan: You better tell that.

Sam Garanzini: This is based on real couples.

Shira: (laughs). Yes.

Ryan: The love languages are whack. (laughs).

Alapaki Yee: (laughs). No, I don't think we're saying that. It's- it's fun to take, uh, like our quiz is pretty fun to take, but this is based on pretty great science.

Ryan: Yeah.

Alapaki Yee: Uh, while that isn't.

Ryan: No, and I- I actually really enjoyed the quiz. It's one of those things where I am trying ... So, okay.

Shira: Where's the quiz. Just give us context for people.

Ryan: So, the quiz is on, uh, gaycouplesinstitute.org, on their official website. It's right there. And it's also going to be on our website as well.

Shira: What?

Ryan: We are channelq.com, because guess what, we're official.

Shira: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ryan: But no, I- I- have a question when it really comes in, I guess, when it, for communication. I think it's one of those things where a lot of people tend to sweep things under the rug, especially when relationships kind of are full and long term. How do you continue to bring up uncomfortable conversations into your relationship?

Alapaki Yee: That's a really good question. That's one that comes up all the time. Uh, we hear from so many couples that want to open up, want to initiate sex, want to talk about their finances, but they have a really hard time doing it. So, one of the big things we talk about is just mindset, and having the mindset to give it a try. 'Cause if you don't do anything, guaranteed it's gonna fail. If you try something, to share what you want and need, there's an opportunity for it to move the needle.

Ryan: Okay.

Shira: Yeah.

Ryan: What about even when you're, I guess when you started out dating, we were talking about that kind of in the beginning stages, if you notice, like, let's say we're going on our first date.

Shira: Oh yeah.

Ryan: And so Shira and I are going on our first date. I know, shocker, I'm straight. Um, it's, um, it's okay.

Shira: And I'm gay.

Ryan: How do you ... (laughs). How do you bring in conversations in the even kind of starting out the communications are peeping out their own starter communication styles? I guess if you're kind of dating them newly.

Sam Garanzini: Right.

Alapaki Yee: Sure.

Sam Garanzini: So, the, I would say, um, you gotta kind of consider, um, what we call rocks in the shoe. And so it's inevitable that there's going to be some miscommunication, even when you're starting out dating. And miscommunications are ... they come to be these kind of like things that just accumulate. You know, like, oh, you didn't, you picked me up a little bit late when we're, you know, we just started dating. Or, you didn't call on time, or why didn't you get the ... why didn't you get the reservation at the restaurant? What's going on?

Shira: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sam Garanzini: So, there's- there's some, there's some, uh, it's- it's encouraging, you know you're not gonna, uh, bring up every single thing that you have a pet peeve about, but eventually if you don't, these things gonna be rocks in the shoe that you carry forward.

Shira: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sam Garanzini: And the trick to bringing those up is really talk about what you want, not what you don't want.

Shira: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sam Garanzini: And talk about yourself, not about him or her, your partner sitting right there. So, make it in terms, make it about you and talk about what you want and need. All- this is all because they will be able to hear that better than you saying things like, "Why didn't you, why didn't you schedule the damn reservation?" Or, "God, you're late again." It's really it becomes, "Hey, it's really great when- when you call ahead. I just want you to know that I really appreciate that."

Shira: Yeah. So, yeah, acknow-

Sam Garanzini: And talk about what you do want to see.

Shira: Acknowledge. Uh, I- yeah, I tend to get in modes, depending on the person what they bring out of me, where I can start calling out instead of calling forth. And then I- I can see it happening, and I'm like, oh, I'm acting really annoying to this person. I'm like becoming that annoying chick.

Ryan: (laughs).

Shira: And then, like, I can't stop it from happening.

Ryan: No one likes a nagger.

Shira: (laughs).

Alapaki Yee: Right. I think you're a referee, Shira.

Shira: Uh, yeah, I'll refer- but you know what, in the bedroom, I don't wanna be my referee.

Ryan: Girl, we don't need to know none of that.

Shira: I know.

Ryan: (laughs).

Shira: I mean, I do have ... I know you have communication types, do you have like, in bed types.

Ryan: (laughs).

Alapaki Yee: (laughs).

Sam Garanzini: (laughs). That will be our next quiz.

Alapaki Yee: You never know.

Shira: Yeah. We need that quiz stat.

Ryan: Yeah, 'cause I- I was actually thinking about that, 'cause you talked about how you have clients come in and they always start talking about communication when it comes to your sex ... their sex lives. How is that kind of harmful, like if, the lack of communication, how's that harmful for a couple's sex life?

Sam Garanzini: Well we know that, and Alapaki if you wanna take this too, that's- that's absolutely fine. I feel like I'm jumping in over, and over. But, the, um ... so what we know with the research, uh, for several decades about couples that have great long term sex lives is couples that talk a lot about sex have a lot of sex.

Shira: Uh, wow.

Sam Garanzini: So, I, in ... ever since I heard that, over a decade ago when I started doing couples therapy, I started saying to- to people, when they were saying, "Yeah, we're not having enough sex." I would say, how much do the two of you talk about sex? Just talk about it. And the answer is always zero.

Alapaki Yee: It's usually zero.

Sam Garanzini: Zero.

Shira: That's interesting, because, alright, I'm not going to talk too much about myself, but when I opened it up, um, when I opened it up with my partner, and we, I actually, well that created some erotic tension, but we started talking about in a more det- not detailed, but being much more honest and vulnerable about what we wanted, it actually did in- increase it a bit. Not consistently.

Alapaki Yee: Yeah.

Sam Garanzini: Exactly.

Shira: But then, I also find that-

Alapaki Yee: There you go.

Shira: ... couples who've been together a long time, you talk more about masturbation than having sex with each other. Does that help, or not help?

Ryan: Hm.

Sam Garanzini: Um, you- you wanna widen the definition of what you would really call sex.

Shira: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Sam Garanzini: And that's what we've seen really successful couples do long term. Is it, yeah, sometimes we do this, and we go, you know, for the sake of the show, um, there's a home run, right, we do everything. But what they really widen, the thing is that they start calling everything sex. So even like, you know, getting to first base, if you will, or getting to second base.

Shira: Yeah, let's not detail. I can't say those things.

Ryan: Yeah, you are really keeping it cute for the station, I appreciate it.

Shira: (laughs).

Alapaki Yee: But I think what's episode.

Shira: For sex. Yeah, we don't wanna get kicked off yet.

Alapaki Yee: Uh, right, totally. And- and I think to Sam's point, it takes the pressure off. Uh, so many people have such a huge pressure when it comes to sex. Talking about sex and just moving the needle from there really it helps.

Ryan: Yeah, and that's one thing I was even thinking, 'cause I, even just talking about problems in general, that adds so much pressure. Because you're like, "Oh, I don't wanna step on any toes." And you don't want to make someone uncomfortable to feel like they're not, you know, what ... they're not worth enough, or they're, like, not equating to what you want as a partner, like what you want in a partner. So it's like, how do you balance that?

Sam Garanzini: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, you don't want to step on people's toes, but there's no such thing as too needy. Like, your need-

Shira: Okay, good to know.

Ryan: Lies. Don't you tell Shira Lazar that. Lies.

Shira: And by the way, just as you say that, before you get into that, I just wanna make sure people know who's talking. Sam Garanzini and Alapaki Yee, from the Gay Couples Institute. We are talking about communication in relationships. Continue talking about the needy folks out there. I'm not one of them. Just saying.

Ryan: (laughs).

Sam Garanzini: There's no such thing as too needy. That's really what we find, is that your partner has inherited your needs. That's just part of inheriting you.

Shira: Yes.

Sam Garanzini: And so, it's more of what you just do with that, and how you bring your needs up. That was really what we would see with the couples.

Ryan: Wow.

Sam Garanzini: 'Cause we studied the couples that last three or more decades. We know what that looks like, those patterns. And that's what we teach.

Ryan: Yeah, it's like inheriting a- a credit score. It needs to, either they're good, it's a good credit score and you're happy with it, or it's a bad credit score and you like, I gotta get away


Sam Garanzini: Yeah, and- and it's ... and you, there are things you can do, you both can do to make it better, and then there's things you can both do to make it worse.

Ryan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Shira: What can you do to make the credit score, aka neediness, better?

Ryan: (laughs).

Alapaki Yee: (laughs). You talk about it. And you know, to- to Sam's point too, it's not what you talk about, it's how you talk about it.

Shira: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Alapaki Yee: And all of the, all of the topics that come up in any given relationship. Sex, money, in-laws, parenting, use of personal free time, and tidiness. Those were the six most common things we see people fight about and, or disagree about. But it wasn't those topics that got them into trouble, it's how they talked about those topics.

Sam Garanzini: Right.

Shira: Alright. Uh, well, thank you so much for being here. We really appreciate you. Hear me Out every Tuesday, right here on Let's Go There, on Channel Q, where we dive into our relationship needs and advice, and basically free therapy with, uh, Sam Garanzini and Alapaki Yee from the Gay Couples Institute. Have a great night.

Alapaki Yee: Happy to be here.

Sam Garanzini: Awesome. Thank you.

Alapaki Yee: And, uh, take our quiz. We wanna know more about your conflicts are. Your communication style.

Shira: Yes. What- what, did you wanna share something?

Ryan: Yeah, I wanted to share, I wanted to share the quiz with you. Take the quiz at www.gaycouplesinstitute.org, or you can head over to wearechannelq.com, 'cause it'll be there as well. And all the information on these amazing guys will be there as well.

Shira: Yeah. And it's for the gays, and then everyone else. It's inclusive, right?

Ryan: Yeah.

Shira: It's pretty, like, yeah.

Alapaki Yee: [crosstalk].

Shira: We love that.

Ryan: We're giving everyone a voice.

Shira: (laughs).

Ryan: No matter how needy it is.

Alapaki Yee: Singles, uh, singles love taking the quiz as well, too. It's really about communication and connections. So, uh, we would love to hear from all of them.

Shira: Great. Well, we will be back with you next week. Have a good one.

Ryan: Great.

Sam Garanzini: Awesome. Thank you. Sending you light and love guys.

Shira: Aw. Look at that.

Ryan: Aw. And remember to slay, honey.

Shira: We're not there yet guys, but I appreciate it. They listen. They listen to the show.

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