A life coach says there are 6 communication types — and knowing them will improve your friendships

  • A life coach recently went viral for her theory of six different communication styles.

  • She said some people volunteer information on their own while others prefer to be asked.

  • The types were inspired by her own friendships and have helped her understand people better.

Hailey Magee, a life coach, went viral on Instagram earlier this month for her Reel about three major communication differences that are common in relationships and often cause major misunderstandings.

Magee, 30, told Business Insider that she came up with some of the types based on her own relationships. They break down into six communication types:

Volunteers vs. Invite-Onlies: According to Magee, Volunteers share information about themselves without being asked first. Invite-onlies only feel comfortable talking about themselves if they've been asked a question.

Askers vs. Guessers: Based on a 2007 blog post by Andrea Donderi, Magee said Askers make requests knowing full well the answer might be "no," and they're ok with that. Guessers only ask for things if they're pretty sure the answer will be "yes," and they think that when others ask them things, they're expecting a "yes," too.

Builders vs. Maintainers: Magee said that when someone shares something, a Builder will add on something of their own, like a personal experience or related story. A Maintainer will affirm what's being said or ask more specific questions about it.

Magee said that these categories have helped her better understand — and salvage — her friendships.

"I spent many years cutting off relationships with people who had the opposite style because I would become so resentful and frustrated in my connection with them," Magee said. "I didn't have the tools or the framework to talk about it with them, so I would just be in the situation feeling unseen."

Magee had communication problems with two of her own friends

Hailey Magee
Hailey Magee.Erek West

Magee, who identifies as an Invite-Only and Maintainer, said she was partly inspired to discuss the different types of communication styles after she ran into the same miscommunication issue with two different friends.

"I felt like I was always the one asking questions and diving deep into what my friends were saying," Magee said. "And it felt like very few people were offering me the same curiosity or attentiveness."

Because Magee specializes in helping her clients stop people-pleasing, she felt she had to try talking to her friends rather than keep stewing. So she spoke to each one separately.

"It was nerve-racking, but it was such an eye-opening moment," she said. While she saw her friends as self-centered and uncurious, they each told her she came off as closed-off and guarded because she never shared anything about herself and just kept asking questions.

Magee said that the labels not only helped her express what she needed and gave her friends a chance to adjust, but they also gave her a more nuanced understanding of how communication differs.

"We get frustrated with people not because they've communicated in a way that's objectively bad or wrong, but because we've made meaning out of how they communicate," Magee said. "And that meaning may or may not be true."

There's no perfect type of communication

Magee said that there are "absolutely pros and cons" for every communication type. For example, Maintainers might think Builders hijack conversations and make it all about them, while Builders can view Maintainers as cold and distant.

What makes things trickier is that these personality types can often attract each other — even if they also grate against each other.

"If my comments section is any indication, it really does seem like Volunteers and Invite-Onlies tend to find each other," Magee said. "If one person tends more toward listening, the other tends more toward speaking."

But while there's no "bad" communication style, Magee said extremes on either side can be challenging to deal with.

"I personally feel like those of us who veer really strongly in one direction in any of these pairs would probably benefit from experimenting with what it would be like to maybe bring the pendulum a little bit more center," she said.

Labels can help you name your needs

Magee said the goal of these labels isn't to pressure people to change or only find people with the same types, but to use them as tools to share how you feel when your needs aren't being met.

"Instead of silently holding these needs and then resentments when they're not met, the solution is to open the dialogue with the people close to us," Magee said.

She still talks to her Volunteer friends when she feels overlooked — and their conversations help reassure her that they value the friendship.

Plus, she said, our communication types can vary depending on who we're with.

"When I'm around other Invite-Onlies, funnily enough, I step more into Volunteer territory," Magee said. When her friends adjust to ask her more questions, she feels more comfortable sharing about herself, completely unprompted.

Read the original article on Business Insider