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Important Communication Patterns for All Learners

It is important to note upfront though, that even when it comes to important communication patterns or styles there are a number of theories that we could examine, learn a lot from and apply to our personal contexts. So this quiz and this podcast episode will focus on just one of many communication style theories. The four communication styles that we are going to focus on today are called:

1) Passive;

2) Passive Aggressive;

3) Aggressive;

4) Assertive.

Important Communication Patterns, Learn English, English Grammar, English communication, English speaking, English  vocabulary

Passive Communication:

When using passive communication, an individual does not express their needs or feelings. Passive individuals often do not respond to hurtful situations, and instead allow themselves to be taken advantage of or to be treated unfairly.

      Traits of passive communication:

  • Poor eye contact
  • Allows others to infringe upon their rights
  • Softly spoken
  • Allows others to take advantage

Passive communicators generally have a more ‘submissive’ approach to communication – they often avoid conflict and lean toward NOT communicating. They tend to be “people pleasers”, can have trouble saying “no”, and might avoid expressing their right, opinions and feelings. If your primary communication style is passive, you might realise that you often put the rights, needs and desires of others ahead of your own. You might ‘suffer’ in silence a lot. I often wouldn’t speak up and share my views, unless I was directly asked and even then I would often try to deflect or be incredibly diplomatic. As an extremely shy introvert, I think passive communication felt like a way for me to hide, to feel safe. This pattern needs to be taken care of among the other important communication patterns or styles.

Passive Aggressive Communication:

  • A passive-aggressive person communicates her needs in an indirect way rather than stating them plainly. While appearing passive on the surface, anger is acted out in subtle ways.
  • He may use sarcasm or make jokes frequently, though close consideration shows the jokes to be more hurtful than funny.
  • She may mutter under her breath or send a dirty look when in conflict, but deny anything is wrong. 
  • He may seem to be cooperative, yet do things to annoy or undermine.
  • She may have difficulty acknowledging her anger and other negative emotions.
  • His facial expressions may be inconsistent with his emotions, such as smiling when disappointed or angry.
  • She may complain often about being a “doormat” while being unwilling to do anything to change it.
  • A passive-aggressive style often develops from feeling powerless and resentful.        

         Examples of passive aggressive behaviour:

➤ Inaction or stalling

➤ Acts of revenge

➤ Speaking negatively behind someone’s back

➤ Withholding praise or affection

➤ Never say no; or always say yes

➤ Use sarcasm heavily

➤ Negative outlook on life

➤ Frequently frustrated or irritable

➤ Chronic feelings of victimhood

Aggressive Communication:

Aggressive communicators violate the rights of others when expressing their own feelings and  needs. They may be verbally abusive to further their own interests. This is vital among the other important communication patterns or styles .

  • An aggressive person ensures her needs are met in a way that violates the needs of others. She may even believe others do not have the right to ask for what they want.
  • He may try to avoid discomfort at all costs, even if it means getting into conflict.
  • She may try to dominate others, sometimes by humiliation, criticism, or blame.
  • An aggressive communicator will often speak in a loud, overbearing voice and behave in a rude or threatening manner.
  • He likely is not a good listener and may frequently interrupt others.
  • She is not likely to compromise with others.
  • Aggressive communication is often born out of low self-esteem.

Traits of aggressive communication:

  • Use of criticism, humiliation, and domination.
  • Frequent interruptions and failure to listen to others.
  • Easily frustrated.
  • Speaking in a loud or overbearing manner.

Assertive Communication:

With assertive communication an individual expresses their feelings and needs in a way that also respects the rights of others. This mode of communication displays respect for the each individual who is engaged in the exchange.

An assertive communicator expresses his own needs and opinions while ensuring the needs and opinions of others are also respected.

  • Feelings and opinions are stated clearly and appropriately.
  • An assertive person values herself and advocates for herself.
  • He is a good listener and doesn’t interrupt.
  • She will have good eye contact and confident, relaxed posture.
  • He speaks in a calm, clear voice.
  • She strives to compromise so everyone’s needs are met as best they can.
  • He is comfortable asking for what he needs or wants.

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