Communication is everything in relationships, and there are four main communication styles that will impact the way we understand one another.
The four communication styles are passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive. Here’s what to know about each of these communication styles.
1. Passive Communication Style
Passive communicators are often reserved, keeping their feelings, thoughts, and opinions to themselves. Those with a passive communication style are usually laid back in this way, meaning they go with the flow and are happy to let others take the lead.
Passive communicators are non-confrontational, and this can come across as submissive at times. Typically conflict adverse, passive communicators never want to upset others. They’d rather stay quiet than risk rocking the boat.
Of course, this also can lead to those with a passive communication style to not getting their needs met since they don’t speak up or fully show up as they are.
2. Aggressive Communication Style
Aggressive communicators are just that: aggressive. They have a tendency to dominate conversations, speaking over others and presenting their ideas and opinions as the most important ones.
People with an aggressive communication style sometimes will yell and shout as their means of getting their message heard. Of course, this isn’t always the best approach. In fact, aggressive communication can actually lead to feelings of animosity and conflict.
3. Passive-Aggressive Communication Style
The passive-aggressive communication style is one that may seem passive at first glance but actually has underlying aggressive energy.
Examples of passive-aggressive communication includes the silent treatment, sarcasm, pouting, backhanded compliments, procrastination, etc. These passive-aggressive methods of communication can be rather manipulative and hurtful to the other person.
One study notes that passive-aggressive communicators approach things the way they do because they aren’t comfortable expressing their needs and emotions openly. As a result, they end up using passive-aggressive means hoping that the other person will pick up on what they’re saying. It’s not the most effective, to say the least.
4. Assertive Communication Style
Assertive communication is defined by directness and consideration for the other person. Assertive communicators are effective because they are able to be both emotionally honest and kind. They don’t let things fester; instead, they bring up any feelings or issues outright.
Unsurprisingly, assertive communicators usually have fewer conflicts and lower stress levels. Assertive communication is often referred to as the healthiest communication style for these reasons.
No matter where you fall in your communication style, there are always ways to improve your skills and become a better communicator. Awareness is the first step.