The Four Types of Communication

There are four types of communication people use to interact on an emotional level. You can use aggressive, assertive, passive or passive-aggressive communication. These communication skills can be applied to both verbal and non-verbal behavior.   

Aggressive Communication
Aggressive communication is when you interact with people using force and intimidation. If you force your needs, wants and opinions on others, you are acting aggressively. If you use your vocal or physical presence to try to intimidate people into agreeing with you, you are acting aggressively.

Aggressive communication often signals a lack of empathy and respect. People who use this form of communication are usually unwilling to compromise or listen. This strong interaction often leads to problems with personal relationships. Two people cannot build a life together if someone mandates every idea and belief their spouse must follow. No conflict resolution will work, no compromises will be made and no progress will ever occur in the relationship.

Assertive Communication
Assertive communication is the most effective communication skill you can use. Assertive communication means you stand-up for your needs, wants and opinions in a respectful and clear manner. You speak for yourself without trying to push your ideas on anyone else. You are open and honest while remaining calm and courteous.

Assertive communication often signals respect for yourself and for others. People who use this form of communication are usually willing to compromise and listen. They are able to use conflict resolution skills to solve problems and create fair compromises. Ultimately, they are able to grow healthy relationships with solid foundations based on honesty and mutual-respect.

Passive Communication
Passive communication means you hide your true needs, wants and opinions in an effort to please other people. You may not actually lie, but you're not completely honest either. You shy away from any kind of confrontation and often avoid communication in general. You rarely speak-up for yourself, which results in anger and resentment when your needs and wants go unmet.

Passive communication often signals a deep lack of self-respect and self-confidence. By putting everyone else's needs before your own, you hide your true self, making it impossible for anyone to become close to you. This is particularly problematic when it comes to relationships. Having so many un-communicated needs, wants and opinions leaves you miserable and leaves your spouse unable to help, find a compromise or even understand the problem.

Passive-Aggressive Communication
Passive-aggressive communication is when you act passive, but are driven by aggression. You initially hide your needs, wants and opinions to avoid confrontation. However, you use subtle and indirect acts of aggression to display your true feelings. You do not try to intimidate people with your vocal or physical presence, but you do challenge them using embarrassment, sabotage and outright lying. 

Passive-aggressive communication often signals a lack of self-esteem coupled with a great deal of resentment. Dealing with everything in an under-handed manner is extremely unhealthy, especially for personal relationships. The lack of honesty means no conflict resolution, growth or understanding can be accomplished.

Communication Examples
An example of aggressive communication would be screaming and threatening another driver after a small accident. Assertive communication would be calmly asking for insurance information to deal with a small accident. Passive communication would be pretending that the offending car didn't knock your fender off and into the road after a small accident. Passive-aggressive communication would be pretending everything is fine after a small accident, then muttering to others about suing the offending driver.

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Good communication in relationships can help ward off major problems. If you and your partner listen to each another and work together toward a solution whenever conflicts arise, you can build the base for a stronger relationship.

If the people to whom you are communicating are constantly missing your points, it might be time to freshen up on effective communication skills.

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It is important to understand communication styles people use to get their points across.

Communication problems in relationships do more than leave one or both people exasperated in the moment. They can signify a deeper issue and lead to further relationship problems down the road.

If you're dating a woman, communication styles are something you need to know about. If you can learn to speak her language, you can make a woman feel at ease and truly listen to what she has to say.

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