Conversation Types in Healthy Relationships
With politeness on the socially-endangered list, chances are you have met someone who forced himself (or herself) into a conversation. From the greeting to the question asked or observation made, you were disgusted. The person made an unwelcome intrusion into the type of conversation you did not expect to have with him or her. Conversation types must match the types of relationship.
Healthy relationships do not just happen. They follow a path paved with respect and courtesy. Selfishness is at the heart of unhealthy relationships and often there is more desire for gratification than for wholesome talk. The appropriate type of conversation can help the relationship grow positively and smoothly.
Following are five conversation types which are to be recognized, even if conversation in the relationship does not follow the order outlined below. They may combine or overlap, but a healthy friendship is more easily maintained if both parties are aware of the conversation types and their purposes.
Types of Conversation
(1) Casual Conversation
- Purpose: Also known as small talk, this conversation type has no definite purpose or serious intent. It happens by chance.
You engage in casual conversation with someone on the bus, at the checkout line in the grocery store, or seated next to you at a party. There is a greeting, followed by general remarks about the weather, the crowd or any other public feature. Usually, there is no desire to bond or to avoid bonding.
Casual conversations can turn into other conversation types if either party so desires. The interested party asks permission with a bridge question like, “May I ask you something?” or a statement like, “I hope you don’t think I’m overstepping my bound.” In a healthy exchange, there is no rudeness, and the other party has permission to end the conversation at the bridge.
(2) Convenient Conversation
- Purpose: Also called functional conversation, this type intends to fill a specific need for information (not necessarily personal).
If the two people had a casual conversation before, this conversation may have some underlying motive—like listening to a likeable voice or evaluating the scope of knowledge on a certain subject. However, no personal information is solicited unless introduced by a bridge of courtesy, as in the casual information.
It is possible to address someone for the first time in a convenient conversation: for example, to ask for direction or to solicit how-to instructions on a new cell phone. There may not be time for a casual conversation, but after a quick bridge, personal phone numbers may be exchanged with prospect for another type of conversation.
(3) Curious Conversation
- Purpose: This conversation type intends to declare interest and learn personal information
Here is a view which may considered old-fashioned, but modern and popular are not necessarily better.
Someone who introduces this type of conversation with a stranger is totally disrespectful. Someone who tolerates this type of conversation from a stranger is probably too desperate for friendship. It is unreasonable to expect courtesy in a relationship which begins without it. Why not consider whether someone is interested before probing for personal information?
If this type of conversation occurs with permission, then it promotes excitement in the process of getting to know each other. It is a time to exhibit real interest, learn likes and dislikes and talk about the future of the friendship.
(4) Connecting Conversation
- Purpose:This conversation type intends to establish and to maintain friendship.
As the name suggests, a connection is being made, and two people begin to refer to each other as friends. There is a certain amount of familiarity which accommodates discussion about personal affairs, feelings and plans, but the friendship is not necessarily exclusive. One person may accommodate several friends at this level of conversation.
There are people who wish to begin an acquaintance with this type of conversation. They do not have time for civility or curiosity. It may be possible for the conversation to progress quickly, but is not possible to build a solid relationship without investing in a foundation.
Connectedness is a gift to be treasured, whether or not the relationship progresses beyond this point. This type of conversation can offer motivation, spiritual and emotional support, and genuine love. It is the type of conversation which prevents one from needing a psychologist or psychiatrist when the challenges of daily living create a desire to vent feelings.
(5) Cuddly Conversation
- Purpose: Also called love talk, this type conversation fills companionship needs on an intimate level.
Couples, married or in love, talk at the deepest level of intimacy about their inner feelings. Their expressions about their longings are soul deep and their responses are soul fulfilling. They nurture their sense of belonging to each other, fostering a closeness which makes it easy to be honest.
It is as satisfying as foreplay, helping to create sexual bonding even before the sexual act. When they are apart, it triggers the feeling of physical connection over time and space. It is not the kind of talk which either party would engage in with anyone else.
This is not to be confused with mushy, baby-talk or the expressions of love sickness. It is a conversation produced by mature love and connectedness between two honest hearts.
© 2013 Dora Weithers