To follow-up with my previous post on Learning About Yourself (discovering your values), I wanted to continue with this theme of understanding more about ourselves.
I would argue that communication is the most important foundation for any relationship to prosper.
Today, I would like to provide you with the basics regarding the different styles of communication. If you are not sure what style you are most comfortable with, hopefully you will gain a better understanding after this read. If you are a seasoned veteran, and are already familiar with these communication styles, than kudos to you! But, a little refresher course wouldn’t hurt, right? 🙂
What do you know about the different styles of communication? Maybe you’re not familiar with the book terms for how you interact with others. That’s perfectly okay too.
I for one have always heard the different terms being tossed around, but have never actually researched them on my own until grad school.
Here’s some info on the different styles of communication:
Aggressive: is a style in which individuals express their feelings and opinions and advocate for their needs in a way that violates the rights of others.
– try to dominate others
– use humiliation to control others
– criticize, blame, or attack others
– be very impulsive
Impact: – become alienated from others, generate fear and hatred in others, and always blame others instead of owning their issues, and thus are unable to mature.
Passive:is a style in which individuals have developed a pattern of avoiding expressing their opinions or feelings, and getting their own needs met.
– often feel anxious because life seems out of their control
– often feel depressed because they feel stuck and hopeless
– often feel resentful (but are unaware of it) because their needs are not being met
– often feel confused because they ignore their own feelings
– are unable to mature because real issues are never addressed
Impact: Increased anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
Passive-Aggressive: is a style in which individuals appear passive on the surface but are really acting out anger in a subtle, indirect, or behind-the-scenes way.
– mutter to themselves rather than confront the person or issue
– have difficulty acknowledging their anger
– use facial expressions that don’t match how they feel – i.e., smiling when angry
– deny there is a problem
Impact: become alienated from those around them, remain stuck in a position of powerlessness, and discharge resentment while real issues are never addressed so they can’t mature.
Personally, I am admitting that I would become easily irritated when I felt that I was unable to express myself completely. Honestly, for the majority of my life I’ve felt that I’ve probably gravitated towards the passive aggressive style of communicating. I kept hearing people say that when referring to me, and still I had no idea what they meant exactly. I assumed this was a funny way of reminding me to check my attitude :-/. Needless to say, I learned a lot about myself.
Assertive: is a style in which individuals clearly state their opinions and feelings, and firmly advocate for their rights and needs without violating the rights of others.
– state needs and wants clearly, appropriately, and respectfully
– listen well without interrupting
– feel in control of self
– not allow others to abuse or manipulate them
– stand up for their rights
Impact: – feel connected to others, feel in control of their lives, are able to mature because they address issues and problems as they arise, create a respectful environment for others to grow and mature
Once I understood more about my own patterns, I was able to make a decision on where I wanted to be, to get to a place where I could communicate freely. I wanted to be understood, respected, someone whom others would consider when making important decisions, and confident. My next course of action was to do the research on reaching these communication milestones. I wanted to be assertive, and this is the style that I have been practicing for the most part more recently. I still have those days when I fall back into my old pattern (sorry guys). Good thing my family and friends are extremely forgiving :-).
What style of communicating best fits you? Has this changed over time?
If you’re curious about what style best suits you, take this 20 question quiz:HERE.
Full descriptions on communication styles: HERE