Ever feel like, no matter how much you try, you and your partner cannot seem to be on the same page? Ever been told that your words come as “aggressive”?
This could be because you and your partner have different styles of communication. Communication is a two-way street and to navigate the tumultuous world of conflicts, you need to recognize the value of communication as well as the different types of communication styles.
Recognizing and understanding which communication style is yours can help you learn how to manage conflicts without further damaging your relationship.
In this article, I’ll describe the 4 types of communication styles and how to manage conflicts when your communication style is different from that of your partners.
4 Types Of Communication Styles:
Every human being has a different communication style and understanding each communication style is important to have an effective communication flow. Bear in mind that while we have a default communication style, it is possible to switch between styles depending on:
- With whom we are communicating, and
- What are the circumstances
Here are the four communication styles you need to know about:
1. Passive Communication
People whose communication style is passive tend to act indifferently and give in easily to others. Passive communicators are “wallflowers” and tend to ignore their feelings and desires.
A passive communicator is not good at communicating openly and because of their lack of communication, conversations can lead to misunderstandings, anger, and resentment. An individual whose communication style is passive is more likely to avoid confrontations and are submissive to others when it comes to ease conflicts.
Passive communicators have a problem saying “no” to others, however, they are easy to get along with and tend to “go with the flow”. A person with a passive communication style will feel anxious, depressed, and resentful as their needs are not met.
In A Relationship: A passive communicator tends to bottle up their feelings, needs and wants and let their partner take charge. If both partners or communicators are passive then the relationship can become complicated as neither of them would face confrontation and manage conflicts. In such situations, a relationship can become resentful after a while.
2. Aggressive Communication
An aggressive communication style is a communicative style where an individual is loud, demanding, and dominating. An aggressive communicator tends to ignore others and is often controlling and commanding. Aggressive communicators do not ask questions politely and demand answers from others.
An aggressive communicator is not a good listener and often uses harsh language when communicating. A person with an aggressive communicative style usually criticizes, blames, and humiliates others. They have an overbearing presence and can often come as intimidating to others.
In A Relationship: An aggressive communicator tends to yell at their partner, refuse to back down from arguments and conflicts, and often forget to consider others’ feelings into account. They are more likely to deny responsibility for their actions and induce a sense of fear in the partner.
3. Passive-Aggressive Communication
A passive-aggressive communication style is where an individual appears passive on the outside but on the inside, they feel powerless and might act out aggressively in indirect ways. People with a passive-aggressive communicative style often feel stuck and incapable of dealing with conflicts.
Passive-aggressive communicators, instead of confronting the other person, would rather mutter to themselves. These types of people cannot express their anger. However, these communicators give their partners “silent treatment” and sabotage others’ reputations behind their backs.
Passive-aggressive communicators, while aware of their feelings and wants, are unable to express them openly. For example; passive-aggressive communicators say they’re happy to help but will complain all the time.
In A Relationship: Passive-aggressive communicators are aware of their feelings but cannot express them with open abandon. They say they are okay but will act and behave rudely and sarcastically. A passive-aggressive communicator will often give silent treatment to their partner and will say “everything is okay” but will behave differently.
4. Assertive Communication
Assertive communication style is a communication style where an individual is not shy in stating their opinions. It is an open communication style and these kinds of communicators, while open with their feelings, wants, or desires will listen to others and will avoid imposing their opinions on others.
Their communication style is not overbearing but confident. In a conflict, they aim for a win-win situation. They are respectful of their rights as well as of others. They have good control over themselves and will create a respectful and safe environment for others to communicate. For a successful and healthy relationship, being an assertive communicator is good.
Assertive communicators have balanced sharing, speaking, and listening skills.
In A Relationship: Assertive communicators do not come off as threatening but caring. They are good listeners and have strong, healthy boundaries in a relationship. They are confident in themselves and are not wary of sharing their ideas, opinions, and views when it comes to conflicts in a relationship.
Communication Is Key
It is not possible to change others’ communication styles, however, it is possible to tweak your communication style to suit your relationship – whether they be at work, home, or social. As I said before, your communication style might change and develop depending on the relationship and circumstances.
Regardless of your communication style, it is important to maintain healthy boundaries in a relationship. In a confrontation, pause before you respond. Listen to your partner and validate their feelings. Everyone wants to be heard.
If you’re still having trouble with effectively communicating with your partner, you can seek professional help from a trained and certified couples counselor. You can also write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that you know the different types of communication styles, let us know in the comments which one is yours?
Stay happy and stay safe!