Answer: These animals represent different communication styles that we all adopt in our relationships, both romantic and otherwise. Some people embrace only one of these communication styles across all of their relationships. However, many people often morph into a different animal (or combination of animals) depending on the relationship they are in, or even at various points in time within a single relationship. These communication styles provide a helpful (and fun!) framework for understanding how we relate to the important people in our lives.
The ram communicator is persistent and strong willed. The ram is convinced that the other person in the relationship will see things the ram’s way if he/she simply repeats the same view/statement/opinion/interpretation over and over again. The ram has a deep desire to be heard and understood, but he/she struggles to easily understand someone else’s point of view.
The grasshopper HATES conflict. When someone tries to engage the grasshopper in a difficult conversation, he/she feels stressed and/or afraid and will seek an immediate escape. The grasshopper often has many friends, interests, and hobbies that allow him/her to jump away from the stressor or fear in a relationship and focus on something that makes them feel needed, important, or connected. If a grasshopper cannot physically escape a difficult situation, he/she will mentally “check out” to self-soothe.
TURTLE AND SNAPPING TURTLE
The turtle craves safety above everything else. When a turtle encounters a scary or challenging situation in a relationship, he/she will retreat and try to wait out the emotional storm. Even if the turtle is physically sharing space with their significant other/parent/friend, it feels like the turtle is mentally or emotionally a million miles away. And if the turtle feels backed into a corner with no escape route, he/she becomes a snapping turtle.
The dog communicator has a huge heart, and always puts the other person’s feelings, needs, and wants before their own. The dog personality is incredibly caring and empathetic, and will work tirelessly to elevate and distract the other person from their negative emotions. Because the dog has a tendency to lose himself/herself in a relationship, he/she generally struggles with boundary issues.
Take a moment to think about how you communicate in your relationships. Do you tend to assume one animal personality in all of your relationships? Or do you tend to morph into different animals depending on who you are relating to? How do your communication personalities impact your relationships? In my coaching practice, I help clients understand and honor the communication styles in their relationships. This is one of the many strategies that I use to guide clients to make real breakthroughs and create lasting change in their relationships.