Styles of Communication
Aggressive Style: A person communicating in an aggressive style expresses his or her feelings in a way that violates the rights of another person. The aggressive person uses humiliation, criticism, sarcasm, insults or threats to get his or her point across. The goal of aggressive communication is to dominate the situation and win at the other persons expense.
The aggressive person is giving the message: I am right and you are wrong. Your feelings are not important. I don’t need to listen to what you have to say. My view is the only one that matters.
Passive style: A person communicating in a passive style does not say what he or she is feeling or thinking. The passive person gives in to other people’s requests, demands or feelings and does not acknowledge his or her own feelings, concerns or wants. When the person does express his or her feelings, it is usually done in an apologetic or timid way so that it’s easy for other people to ignore him or her.
The goal of passive communication is to play it safe, not rock the boat, put everyone else’s needs first and avoid conflict at all costs.
The passive person is communicating the message: I don’t count. What I need is not important. You don’t have to take my feelings into account.
Passive Aggressive Style: A person communicating in a passive-aggressive style uses more hidden forms of aggression to express his or her feelings. The goal is to give the message without having to say it directly.
Assertive Style: A person communicating in an assertive style stands up for his or her personal rights and expresses thoughts, feelings and beliefs in direct, honest and appropriate ways. The person conveys his or her message without dominating, criticizing, or degrading the other person.
The goal of assertive communication is to honestly state your feelings, and show respect for the other person’s position as well. The assertive person is communicating the message: the feelings and needs of both of us are important. I am telling you what I need, and I also want to know what you need so we can both be satisfied.
Taken from mincava.edu
Styles of Communication Scenarios
Read each scenario and identify which of the responses is aggressive, passive, passive-aggressive, and assertive.
1. Tom’s wife, Madeline, returns home late after a girl’s night out, she said she would be home by 10:00 pm, but she shows up at 1:00 am. Tom has been waiting for her and is upset and worried. He could:
a. Greet her and ask how her night was.
b. Start shouting and tell her she’s irresponsible and he can’t trust her
c. Not say anything, but refuse to wake her up in time to go to work as he usually does.
d. Say, “I’ve been really worried about you, I need you to let me know if you are going to be later than originally planned.”
2. Kelly is overwhelmed with housework and needs to prepare dinner after a long day at work. When her husband Glen walks through the door she could ask him:
a. “Why don’t you ever help me with anything? You are so lazy!”
b. “How was your day?” and continue to do all the chores herself.
c. “I’m completely overwhelmed, could you please help me tidy up so I can get dinner started?”
d. Remain silent, but when he doesn’t help, make something for dinner he dislikes.
3. David is upset when his partner Mark returns home with a new very expensive cell phone that they cannot afford. Mark is not presently working and David is having a hard time covering all the finances.
a. Say nothing, and feel anxious
b. Tell Mark that he is a lazy idiot and he will be taking the phone back.
c. Tell Mark they are in trouble financially and that if Mark wants to make big purchases like these that he will need to get a job and bring in some income.
d. Tell Mark he likes the new phone, but then talk about how tired he is, and how stressful it is to never get to buy himself anything despite being the only one working.
4. Elizabeth is attending a party with her husband Cole, at the party a female work colleague of Cole’s mentions that she calls Cole her work husband and everyone thinks she and Cole would be a perfect couple. Elizabeth should:
a. Say, “I feel you are behaving inappropriately. Please be respectful to me and Cole.” Then talk to Cole about what had been said and give him an opportunity to share what he feels about what was said.
b. Laugh politely, and then later snoop through Coles phone and look for signs of an affair.
c. Tell the woman she is acting like a slut and accuse Cole of having an affair.
d. Laugh politely at the woman, but make no mention to her husband what was said.
5. Brian and his wife Kathleen are watching a movie they have chosen together after the kids have gone to bed, Brian is hoping they can cuddle on the couch together, but Kathleen hasn’t put her phone down and hasn’t even looked at him. Should he:
a. Turn the tv off and grab her phone and throw it
b. Continue watching the show anyway
c. Ask Kathleen to put the phone away so they can have some quality time together
d. Change the channel to something only he wants to watch and see if she notices