By: Sherif Khairy
Relationships are difficult, all kinds of relationships. They depend on a usually unpredictable dynamic between the two parties. While both sides have difficulties, the weight may tip slightly more one way or another.
A typical bias is how one side could be more at ease with the relationship. That can be down to confidence, more control, or simply less care. But the fact of the matter is, even with equal confidence, control, and care, one side may still – even unknowingly – have a fictitious upper hand.
The other side can expect to feel anxious, uncomfortable in their own skin, and even uneager for a meeting they have not prepared for. Without proper mental preparation, there’s always the risk of rejecting or avoiding an opportunity to meet.
While it seems there’s something fundamentally wrong with the relationship, the problem is actually much less drastic. The basis of any relationship is trust and comfort. Trust actually develops comfort. And while trust may be there as a base, it needs reassurance to grow.
Dealing with the inexpressive personality is challenging as they find it difficult to show their true feelings in words. They may even find it difficult to respond to these sort of words when said to them.
It’s not apathy, nor is it arrogance. You can rest assured that this side shares the uncomfortable feeling of the other side, both in their unique way.
Unfortunately, this creates a sense of insecurity for the recipient of this “inexpressiveness”. Without directly saying it, a person seems to remain vague as to how they truly feel towards the other side. This insecurity of how close they are creates jealousy-like problems for the other, more expressive side.
But take it from an inexpressive person, it’s not 100% comfortable for us either. Actually, we may harbor a bit of envy for the other kind. Their ease in social settings is a perk we sometimes wish for.
What seems like unwillingness is actually a struggle. To initiate a conversation, or say something as simple as “I miss you”, is against the nature of someone who's not used to communicating their emotions as they feel them.
So where does that leave our two sides? A stalemate.
Forcing the inexpressive side to speak up will make them feel insecure about their character. While forcing silence on the expressive side will make them feel insecure about their worth.
The solution here is scaling. Let me give you an example. If a friend of mine and I like a song to the same level, I’ll say it’s good, and she’ll say it’s great. That’s the difference between our scales right there. This works for everything else.
You need to find ways to perceive the other person’s actions in their own scale. Afterwards, you can translate those words or actions into your personal scale. It’s not ideal, certainly. But it can work.
With time the inexpressive person will learn to say more, and with time the expressive person will learn to understand more from less. From thereon, both parties can further enjoy a more balanced relationship.