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Are You a Passive or Passive-Aggressive Communicator? Here’s How to Tell

Communication is an essential life skill, determined by our choice of words, tone, and expression. Each of us has a unique and consistent communication style. This explains why we occasionally disagree with others or experience conflict due to communication gaps.

There are four primary communication styles. These include passive, passive-aggressive, aggressive, and assertive. Our dominant communication style is often indicative of how we handle conflicts.

Understanding these four styles can help us better comprehend our unique communication style. So, which style do you lean towards?

Passive Communicators

People with a passive communication style prioritize others' needs over their own. This style is characterized by silence, lack of personal opinion, and assumptions.

Passive communicators usually shy away from disrupting the status quo, often choosing to be spectators rather than active participants. They habitually put others first, often suppressing their own thoughts and opinions. They are typically peaceful, apologetic, and hesitant.

These individuals aim to please others to gain acceptance or approval. They often overthink their responses, fearing judgment, which prevents them from expressing their thoughts truthfully. Being passive often involves sacrificing personal power and allowing others to dictate outcomes. This behavior is typically associated with low self-esteem.

Passive-Aggressive Communicators

Passive-aggressive communicators may seem passive, but their latent anger or disappointment often leads to passive-aggressive behavior.

Their approach is subtler than those who are overtly aggressive. They won't overtly express their anger, but their silent treatment or subtle hints will convey their dissatisfaction or sense of being wronged.

They control situations using specific tactics, disregarding others' feelings. They act in ways that ensure they appear blameless, leading others to question if they are at fault. They might use sarcastic remarks, backhanded compliments, or avoid communication altogether. This style can severely damage relationships.

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Aggressive Communicators

Aggressive communicators excessively exert power and express their thoughts without any filter, often infringing on others' rights. They tend to disregard others' opinions, rights, or feelings, focusing solely on their own perspective.

Aggressive communicators will attack others to prove themselves right, showing little regard for others' worth. Their primary goal is to win arguments, displaying very little flexibility.

While some may confuse aggressive communication with assertiveness, the two are very different. Aggressive communicators can be overly demanding and disrespectful, inciting an aggressive response or submission from others.

Assertive Communicators

Assertive communicators, who lie between passive and aggressive communicators, express their thoughts honestly but with respect and calmness.

They voice their opinions while respecting others' rights and dignity. They manage to be direct and honest without being offensive. They maintain a respectful and dignified communication style.

Even when they believe they're right, they avoid disrespecting others' opinions unless they feel attacked. If proven wrong, they have the humility to accept it and apologize.

In Conclusion

So, which style aligns with yours? Assertive communicators are often preferred due to their natural confidence. They express their thoughts without causing harm and usually lead to success and happiness.

Assertive communicators also appreciate and praise others when it's warranted. They're typically effective, content, and manage to please others effortlessly. This style of communication is common among leaders.

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