It is important to learn to identify the different styles of communication, and recognize the one we use most frequently in our daily interactions with friends, family, and co-workers. Likewise, it is important to know what communication style others are using.
Properly identifying the 4 basic communication styles is important if we want to develop effective and assertive communication skills.
What are the communication styles and how to recognize them?
In this article I explain in detail the 4 styles of communication: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive and assertive communication.
1. Passive Communication
Passive communicators avoid attracting attention and often remain silent. Moreover, during debates or discussions, they generally do not adopt a firm position. Generally, they do not share their needs and do not express their feelings. It is therefore difficult for the rest of the people to determine if they need help or if they are not well.
As you might expect, this difficulty in expressing thoughts and emotions often leads to communication problems and the build-up of resentment and anger.
Next, I share with you some behavioral characteristics of the passive communication style:
- Inability to say no.
- Apologetic attitude.
- Avoid confrontation.
- He does not express his feelings and desires.
- He has difficulty assuming responsibilities or making decisions.
- Give in to the preferences of others.
- Reject compliments.
- He does not defend his rights and his needs.
- Prefer not to participate.
- victim attitude
At the non-verbal level people with a passive communication style tend to have the following characteristics:
- Little eye contact.
- Very low voice volume.
- Soft voice
- Try to make yourself as small as possible, looking down.
- Gestures of agitation and nervousness.
- They look shorter than they actually are.
You can recognize passive communication through sentences like these:
- I really don’t care.
- It’s okay, you choose.
- You choose, all options look good to me.
2. Aggressive communication
Aggressive communicators express their thoughts and feelings and strive to meet their needs, even if it violates the rights of others. You will easily identify them because they usually take the reins or dominate the conversation. They tend to act impulsively, without thinking or meditating beforehand. As you can imagine, this negatively affects your social relationships.
Next, I share with you some characteristics of the behavior of people with this style of communication:
- They don’t respect speaking turns.
- They dominate others using different techniques.
- They can be humiliating.
- They criticize in an unconstructive way.
- They tend to be impulsive.
- They do not tolerate frustration well.
- They don’t have the ability to listen.
Non-verbal characteristics people with an aggressive communication style:
- His tone of voice is high.
- His voice is perceived as authoritative.
- They tend to use abrupt and aggressive gestures.
- They held eye contact in an intimidating manner.
- They present an authoritarian posture.
- They can invade the personal spaces of others.
- He points.
You can recognize an aggressive communicator by fear this type of expression:
you are crazy
My way is the best.
He often uses phrases that begin with “yo”. It’s always “me, me, me”.
I’m right, you’re wrong.
Related article: “How to give constructive criticism: 11 simple and effective tips”
3. Passive-aggressive communication
Passive-aggressive communication it may seem like passive communication at first, but, in reality, they have aggressive motivations behind their actions. Although their words may sound nice, their actions don’t always match what they say.
At first you may categorize them as passive, but eventually you will realize that their communication style is passive-aggressive. Passive-aggressive communicators can silently manipulate a situation to gain advantage. It is important for you to know that in this type of communication, people express their anger in subtle or indirect ways. People who develop a passive-aggressive communication pattern typically feel helpless and resentful.
Passive-aggressive communicators they generally behave as follows:
- They use sarcasm.
- They find it difficult to recognize that they are angry.
- Since they don’t know how to deal with the person or the problem, they mumble to themselves.
- They deny there is a problem.
- They use sabotage in subtle ways for revenge.
- He may seem like a cooperative person, but at the same time, they do things on purpose to annoy and interrupt.
- What they say doesn’t match what they do.
Regarding the non-verbal:
- They tend to use facial expressions that don’t show how they really feel. For example, they smile when in reality they are very angry.
- Often they speak in a soft, gentle voice.
- His gestures can be abrupt and/or rapid.
- They may get too close to others.
People with an aggressive communication style they use expressions like:
- It’s fine, whatever.
- After saying something sarcastic or hurtful, they say they were joking.
- It is better that you do as you say, because my ideas are not very good (I say with irony or sarcasm).
- Don’t worry about me, I can do it alone, totally, normally I always have to do things alone.
4. Assertive Communication
The assertive style is a respectful style of communication and it is the one that gives the best results in communication.
Assertive communicators are able to share their thoughts and ideas with confidence, yet being respectful and polite to others. They know how to say no when necessary. In other words, they set limits, but without acting aggressively or defensively. All this encourages an open and sincere dialogue taking into account the needs of others.
assertive behavior is manifested by:
- They like to collaborate and share.
- They express their ideas and feelings in a healthy way.
- They encourage conversations where everyone can talk and be heard.
- They speak in the first person.
- They know how to say no.
- They listen to others.
- They know how to make their rights heard and taken into account.
At the non-verbal level assertive communicators can be distinguished by the following traits:
- They maintained adequate eye contact.
- His voice is calm and calm.
- They use expansive gestures.
- They have a relaxed posture.
- His voice is clear.
Communicators with this style they use phrases like this:
- I am responsible for my decisions.
- I respect the needs and opinions of others.
- Thank you for giving your advise.
- We all have the right to express ourselves.
Knowing communication styles is a first step in learning how to communicate better, both for yourself and for others. What style of communication do you tend to use?