Personally Preferred Ways Of Communicating – The 5 T’s

Did you know that there are five main ways of relating to other people? Here at Arafmi Ltd, we call them the “5 T’s”.

Briefly, they can be described in the following way:

  1. Talk: you like to express yourself with words.
  2. Task: doing things for other people is how you communicate.
  3. Time: spending time with people is how you relate to others.
  4. Touch: a tactile person will convey their message through touch.
  5. Things: giving of objects or gifts is another way to relate to others.

Similar to the five love languages, these describe ways in which we prefer to communicate and relate with others. Whilst we use all of these ways to convey a message, we do tend to favour only one or two. Similarly, others also tend to favour one or two of these styles.

Generally we like to give care and concern in the same way we prefer to receive it. Let’s take a mother for example. This mother may show her love for her family by completing tasks – lots and lots of tasks. Making the kids lunches, cooking dinner, doing the laundry etc. She would love it if her family, without being asked, did little tasks like washing the dishes or taking the garbage out.

Someone else may prefer spending time together doing fun activities with a friend. If however, the friends feels a closer friendship by giving and receiving gifts, then even though the friends care for each other, they may not recognise how much they care about each other because they express themselves differently.

Have a think about it. Which two do you think are your preferred methods? And what about those of your loved ones – which two do they prefer? And do these match up with yours?

It’s good to know your own preferred ways of relating so that you can tell others what you like. It’s also helpful to know how others prefer to care so that you know how to express your intention in the way that the other person recognises.

Understanding these five methods and being aware of how others communicate will go a long way to improving how we communicate with others.

We hope this blog has been helpful! If you’d like to share any examples where you’ve successfully used your understanding of the 5 T’s, please don’t hesitate to send them to us here.

Arafmi Ltd is a not for profit community organisation that has been providing quality services to the Queensland community for over 40 years. Our focus is to enhance the wellbeing of people with mental illness, their families, carers and volunteers.



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Arafmi would like to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s First People and Traditional Custodians. We value their cultures, identities, and continuing connection to country, waters, kin and community. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and are committed to making a positive contribution to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.