Are you struggling to connect with your partner in a positive and productive manner? Learning effective communication styles with another person can be difficult because we all have different personalities and viewpoints. There are multiple factors that influence how we interact with others. One of the most important factors you should be aware of is your communication style. There are four types of communication styles that are particularly important to look at. By the end of this article, you will have a basic understanding of the four types of communication styles; aggressive, passive, passive-aggressive, and assertive.
You will also be able to identify if you practice any of the four types of communication styles and when. There are a time and place for all of the communication styles and it is up to you to understand when it is appropriate to use each one.
Through our understanding and identification methods, you will be able to stop unhealthy communication in its tracks and build a newer, healthier style of communication for yourself. Aggressive communication style is when you state your needs in a way that leaves less room for others who are involved and their needs.
Aggression tends to come from a place of insecurity. The aggressive communication style commonly arises when you feel threatened, perhaps when you feel as though your best interest is in jeopardy. Aggressive people may come off as verbally abusive to others. Here are some examples of an aggressive communication style:. People who use an aggressive communication style may alienate themselves from others, confirming that they have something to be insecure about by producing fear or hatred in others.
Not wanting to face these insecurities, aggressive people often struggle to take responsibility for their actions, which makes it difficult to learn from situations and get the support and love they are yearning for from others.
Choosing to use an aggressive communication style in certain interactions can be beneficial. Or, for children who tend to get bullied at school, they may need to show the other children that they are capable of handling themselves and they are not to be messed with. An aggressive communication style can also be helpful when exerting physical activity, like at the gym or in a race. A passive communication style occurs when individuals tend to not express their feelings or opinions to others.
People take on a passive communication style for various reasons. A passive communication style tends to involve compromise more and allow the other person to have their way, sometimes leaving the person using a passive communication style feeling unfulfilled.
Or, if your friend has finally found someone they are connecting with, you may choose to tell them your good news next time as to not take away from their shining moment.
When encountering a perceived aggressive communication style, a passive communication style may find themselves agreeing when they actually disagree or have something to add to the conversation. Often times, the passive communication style is channeling the fear of confrontation and are working to avoid making the seemingly aggressive communication style more hostile.Assertiveness can help you control stress and anger and improve coping skills.
Recognize and learn assertive behavior and communication. Being assertive is a core communication skill. Being assertive means that you express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view, while also respecting the rights and beliefs of others. Being assertive can also help boost your self-esteem and earn others' respect. This can help with stress management, especially if you tend to take on too many responsibilities because you have a hard time saying no.
Some people seem to be naturally assertive. But if you're not one of them, you can learn to be more assertive. Because assertiveness is based on mutual respect, it's an effective and diplomatic communication style.
Being assertive shows that you respect yourself because you're willing to stand up for your interests and express your thoughts and feelings. It also demonstrates that you're aware of the rights of others and are willing to work on resolving conflicts. Of course, it's not just what you say — your message — but also how you say it that's important. Assertive communication is direct and respectful. Being assertive gives you the best chance of successfully delivering your message.
If you communicate in a way that's too passive or too aggressive, your message may get lost because people are too busy reacting to your delivery. If your style is passive, you may seem to be shy or overly easygoing. You may routinely say things such as "I'll just go with whatever the group decides.
Why is that a problem? Because the message you're sending is that your thoughts and feelings aren't as important as those of other people. In essence, when you're too passive, you give others the license to disregard your wants and needs. Consider this example: You say yes when a colleague asks you to take over a project, even though your plate is full, and the extra work means you'll have to work overtime and miss your daughter's soccer game.
Your intention may be to keep the peace. But always saying yes can poison your relationships. And worse, it may cause you internal conflict because your needs and those of your family always come second.The way that people communicate with others depends on how they feel about themselves, the situation they are in and the people they are interacting with.
If someone has low self-esteem or poor communication skills, they may adopt a passive-aggressive communication style, which means they approach conversations with an aggressive and negative undertone, hidden behind a mask of passivity and indirectness. This style of communication is confusing for the listener and also makes it difficult for the communicator to really express how they are feeling.
Passive-aggressive communicators will often use sarcasm as a way of masking their real feelings and opinions while also being inadvertently negative. They will give people the silent treatment and try to make people feel guilty to get what they want, says author and communication skills coach Barbara Small.
Passive-aggressive communication also relies upon the subtle use of facial expressions and body language like pouting or smiling when in fact they are angry inside. They will try to appear pleasant and positive, but will simultaneously give off negative cues like ignoring you and trying to play the victim.
A passive-aggressive communicator believes that he is incapable of successfully expressing himself in an open and honest way, particularly if what he is thinking is negative. Therefore he must try to do it in a way that is subtle, indirect and manipulative, says Serenity Online Therapy. He might feel weak, powerless and inferior to the person he is communicating with and act on these emotions by trying to sabotage and disrupt a situation while attempting to appear cooperative and pleasant.
The reasons behind why someone communicates in a passive-aggressive way has to do with the feelings they are experiencing about themselves and an inability to express this openly and honestly. If a person is experiencing some sort of internal conflict, for example if they feel inferior to a work colleague, jealous of a friend or helpless in a given situation, they act in a passive-aggressive manner as a means of dealing with the emotion.
It offers them deniability so that they don't have to take responsibility for how they are feeling and instead they can displace the negativity onto someone else, says Green Psychology. This inability to communicate in a direct and assertive manner is a learnt behavior, says Serenity Online Therapy, and might stem from an upbringing in a dysfunctional family whereby healthy and open communication was not encouraged or exemplified.
Passive-aggressive communication can be frustrating for the listener, leaving them unsure of what was meant by the person and how they should respond, says psychotherapist Cyndi Sarnoff-Ross.
For example, a direct response to a passive-aggressive comment could be deemed as hypersensitive, which the aggressor can then respond to with more indirect comments like "that's not what I meant" or "you are reading to much into my comment," thus putting the blame on the listener.
The listener might leave the conversation feeling confused, frustrated or guilty while the aggressor could well have succeeded in having their needs met over the other person's, says Small. In the long run, passive-aggressive communication alienates other people and, in turn, perpetuates the communicator's feelings of powerlessness and low self-esteem.
Emily Watson started writing in She holds an honors degree in history from Newcastle University and has a PMA-Group postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism. The database based on Word Net is a lexical database for the English Language.
See disclaimer. By Emily Watson ; Updated September 29, It is hard to know what a passive-aggressive person is really thinking. About the Author. Photo Credits.Forgot your password? Or sign in with one of these services. Excellent communication skills are critical to the nursing profession.
Yet, there are times I become frustrated when a nurse is giving a marathon report full of unnecessary information. My muscles tighten when my manager sits on both sides of the fence on an important issue and has difficulty making decisions. The truth is…. I am really good at identifying communication styles that I prefer or dislike. Unfortunately, I have little self-awareness of my own communication style and how others receive my message. Are you ready to increase your self-awareness by exploring your communication style?
In healthcare, good communication skills are needed to build relationships and for positive outcomes. Nurses communicate with many healthcare disciplines and with patients of varying backgrounds cultural, educational and others. Is your message clear or are the disadvantages in your communication style distorting the intended message?
Let's explore four styles aggressive, passive-aggressive, passive and assertive and the advantages and disadvantages of each style. An aggressive communicator will put their needs and ideas first.
This style can come across as demanding and abrasive.
The intended message will often be lost as the recipient is reacting to the harsh delivery. The winner often comes across hostile and confrontational. Non-verbal communication may include invading others' personal space, big dramatic gestures and harsh facial expressions. The Winner does not listen very well, interrupts frequently and has a know-it-all attitude.
The person on the receiving end of the winner often feels defensive, resentful, hurt afraid and reluctant to report mistakes and problems.
A passive-aggressive communicator appears genuine and agreeable, but anger and resentment is present under the surface. The Sabotager is not truthful and forthcoming with their thoughts and feelings. Instead, they are indirectly aggressive - unreliable, patronizing, sarcastic, devious and often gossips.
Non-verbal communication may include invading personal space and speech that is often dramatically sweet. The person on the receiving end of the sabotager often feels hurt, confused, angry and resentful.Examples of Passive Communication
People who communicate passive-aggressively appear passive on the surface, but are acting out resentments and anger indirectly to undermine. The avoider is often seen as patient, easygoing and always concerned with the needs of others. Passive communicators also avoid conflict and are reluctant to express their own thoughts, concerns and feelings.
It is common practice for the avoider to accept additional work and responsibilities and give in to the ideas of others. Unfortunately, the avoider is often burdened with resentments and frustrations.
The passive communication style is about people pleasing while avoiding conflict. This is the opposite of passive and is confident, self-aware, honest and direct.
Assertive communicators are typically active listeners and are considerate of others' feelings. Common nonverbal communication includes direct eye contact, attentiveness, relaxed posture, and appropriate speech volume.
The assertive style is known for compromising and confronts problems as they occur. The person on the receiving in of an assertive communicator often feels the person is honest, knows where they stand and respected. Take-away: The assertive communication style is the most effective and a balance between aggressive and passive.
Keep in mind that we all fluctuate between communication styles in different situations. It is a good starting place to be aware of your preferred style in order to improve your communication and message.There are many factors that play a role in leading groups to solutions which can also be defined as achieving successbut how a leader communicates with his or her group is an especially pertinent one. Though generally aimed at influencing the behavior of another person, assertive communication is very different from aggressive communication:.
The differences between these two communication styles are significant, and the outcomes of each are markedly different:. By following The Assertive Communication Model while leading groups to solutions, not only will problems be addressed and solved, but the personal affirmative qualities of leadership will be enhanced. Step 1: Open the discussion in a non-threatening way by acknowledging the other person by name and engaging in small talk.
Do this in a non-judgmental, positive way. Step 2: Describe your own feelings in accurate, specific words and explain why you feel the way you do. Express your point of view, but be neither overly dramatic nor too passive. Share your goals, concerns, dilemmas, and values. Be humble. Step 3: Explain why you feel the way you do in an articulate, respectful way.
Share your interpretations, inferences, and impressions while providing relevant background information. Step 4: Explain what you want to happen next. Describe your needs, wants, and ideas. Non-verbals are the communication cues that you send alongside and in between the words you speak. They are just as important as what you actually say, if not more so.
To ensure that you are communicating your words and emotions accurately, continually monitor the non-verbal messages you may be sending by asking yourself the questions below:.
Passive Communication and Social Anxiety
By increasing our awareness of our own bad habits, we can unlearn them and replace them with more positive and effective approaches. When it comes to communicating openly and honestly, most people get scared.
We are fearful of hurting other people and making them angry, or we worry that we will be rejected. Because of these overarching fears, not only does the other person remain unaware of our feelings, we also fail to realize the impact that our actions are having on others. This is how small annoyances turn into big issues down the road.
Instead of allowing this negative cycle to continue, be honest with yourself about your emotions and then share them as both temporary and changeable feelings. This allows the other person to see and better understand your frustration, but also your sincere desire to improve the relationship. By routinely using The Assertive Communication Model, continually monitoring your non-verbals, breaking down communication barriers, and practicing constructive openness, your true qualities of leadership will shine.
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Communication There are many factors that play a role in leading groups to solutions which can also be defined as achieving successbut how a leader communicates with his or her group is an especially pertinent one. To ensure that you are communicating your words and emotions accurately, continually monitor the non-verbal messages you may be sending by asking yourself the questions below: Are you maintaining reasonable eye contact? Are your facial expressions properly signaling your state of mind?
Are you using hand gestures respectfully? Are you refraining from tapping your fingers or feet? Are you remaining fluid and using positive body positions? Are you aware of the tone, inflection, and volume of your voice? Communication Barriers vs. Organizational Effectiveness Services.It is recognisable by the disconnect between what the person says and what they do. Passive aggressive people tend to express their negative feelings in an indirect manner, rather than state their disapproval directly to the person concerned.
There tends to be a great deal of hostility associated with passive aggressive behaviour and a great deal of this tends to be derived from miscommunication, failure to communicate or the assumption that the other person knows what they are thinking or feeling.
From a relationship perspective, passive aggressive behaviour can be the most difficult communication style to deal with as you are not quite sure what you are dealing with. Passive aggressive behaviour is intended to control the other person e. It is then hoped that they can manipulate the other person into doing as they wish. If you have been on the receiving end of passive aggressive behaviour, you will know how easy it is to overreact. And, when you overreact, that is a clear sign that the other person is starting to control you.
Whatever type of passive aggressive behaviour you are experiencing, you need to stay calm and composed, so you can formulate the appropriate response. While it is often hurtful to be on the receiving end of this behaviour, remembering the following points can help you to stay calm:.
They may pretend that everything is ok but eventually, their true feelings will seep out through their body language and tone of voice. It then becomes frustrating as you try to get them to open up and tell you the truth. The big difference here is that this person is not just trying to control you, they are trying to make you feel bad.
They are happy to hurt you. So much so, that it becomes a game whereby every interaction is a contest. These people are usually angry about something but, rather than express their feelings with the person whom they are angry with; they deal with things by manipulating their victim. They try to get rid of their anger by making the victim angry, through manipulation. The following list, though not exhaustive, covers some of the most common examples.
When others make requests or demands of them, passive aggressive people will often view them as unfair or unjust. Rather than express their feelingsthey will bottle them up and resent the other person for making the demands. They quickly forget that they did not have to agree to the demand, or that they could have voiced their feelings at the time that the request was made. A great deal of passive aggressive behaviour comes from an inability to communicate effectively.
It can be incredibly difficult for a passive aggressive person to communicate a message which may be interpreted as being negative, e. The inability to speak their mind is often driven by their need for approval. The approval of others allows them to feel validated. It tells them that they are ok. What passive aggressive people fail to realise is that refraining from saying what they really think only works in the short-term.
The longer they go without speaking their mind, they more frustrated and resentful they become. Eventually, it starts to show in their body language and their tone of voice. This is where you start to notice the incongruence between the words they say and, the message they send. Procrastinationthe act of putting off that which needs to be done, is often a subconscious decision.The passive communication possesses people who are often unable to express their thoughts or views for fear of confrontation by others.
Usually, they are not considered fit to provide judgments or opinions. It is a very inefficient and maladaptive way of communicating, since the person fails to identify or satisfy their own needs. Sometimes, some aggression is mixed in passive behavior, resulting in a passive-aggressive style of communication.
Characteristics of the passive communication style. Individuals who have a passive form of communication tend to speak softly, as if they are apologizing. They fail to stand up or hold what they think of another person and allow others to interfere with their rights and opinions. Neither do they often express their feelings, points of view and needs spontaneously. These people also often make eye contact when they talk to someone and adopt inappropriate body language and posture.
The passive communication style also implies a continuous state of anxiety, as these people assume that their lives are out of their control. They are often depressed or sick, because their opinions are never expressed aloud. They are often confused if given the opportunity to choose and tend to delegate decisions to others. All this leads to these people feeling angry with themselves. However, these people rarely show anger or anger towards others. On the contrary, they usually allow complaints, discomfort and aggression from other people.
In some cases, these assaults pile up and give rise to an outburst of rage disproportionate to the incident passive-aggressive style. After this explosion, however, they often feel shame, guilt and confusion, so that they return to habitual passivity. This way of communicating has a high impact on the lives of these individuals. Aside from the anxiety and depressive symptoms they often feel as a result of not expressing their emotions, they tend to experience resentment and confusion by ignoring their own needs.
They are also often unable to mature at all because they never get to face real problems. A passive communicator often acts as if he is weak and unable to take care of himself. Examples of situations in which a person communicates passively. Why is passive style not a healthy way of communicating? Passive communication often causes the person to keep all his opinions to himself and prevents him from letting go and expressing his emotions.
This type of people, in this way, accumulates all the problems that entail the lack of expression of emotions. This is dangerous, as it can lead to a burst of rage, after which it returns to the original state of passivity. This outburst often carries feelings of guilt and shame.
In addition, the lack of externalization of emotions and feelings can give somatomorphic problems in the form of pains that have no physical causes.