Communication is part of every interaction we have on a daily basis.  Knowing how to approach circumstances and be equipped with the right tools for communicating your ideas can really empower you and help you be understood. A few different communication styles exist including, the assertive, aggressive, passive, and passive-aggressive styles.

What do they involve and where do you fit in?

The Passive Style

In this style of communicating, you usually go along with what others want to do.  You do not speak your mind nor are you able to do what you want.  As a result, you seem like a ‘go with the flow’ type of person when really, you are unable to clearly express what you really want.  This person is often easily taken advantage of and may find they feel often unappreciated. Something to consider here is the use of boundaries. Setting boundaries with others can really let others know what you can offer them and what you cannot accept from them.

The Aggressive Communicator

In this style, you communicate very directly, without regard to the other person’s feelings. You speak what is on your mind and do not consider how it may impact someone else’s circumstances.  This type of person uses communication as a source of power over others. Instead of communicating respectfully with others, they may disregard what anyone else may be thinking and act impulsively with consideration for the other person’s wishes. Empathy is a big factor here. Others may perceive someone who communicates with the aggressive style of communication as someone who does not care for their feelings. If you take a moment to consider someone else’s feelings, you can start to consider other perspective and change the way you communicate.

The Passive-Aggressive  Communicator

This person will say what you want to hear when they are speaking to you.  However, as soon as you turn your back, they will speak poorly of you say what they really have on their mind.  A perfect example of this type of communicator is the office worker that ‘brown-noses’ the boss in their face and then goes and serves the boss some moldy food for dessert. The passive-aggressive style of communicaiton can lead to resentment in this type of communicator. One potential solution to adapting this style to a more positive one is to practice communicating more directly with trusted persons.

The Assertive Communicator

This person will state what they are thinking in a respectful manner that considers the other person’s feelings.  In this style,  you are able to take a moment, think about what you are going to say, and frame it in such a way that gets your message across while also allowing someone else to express themselves freely.  This style is successful in resolving conflicts amicably and without use of power. The use of reflection, “I” statements, and other tools are commonly used in this style of communication.

Each style reviewed probably describes someone you know. Where do you fit in?