Communication Styles

Topic Overview

Three types of communication styles are passive, aggressive, and assertive communication. We all use these at different times, but if you are always passive or aggressive, you may find that you get better results by learning how to become assertive instead.

In passive communication, you may withhold your opinions, feelings, and wants. You may feel uncomfortable speaking your mind, especially when you are among supervisors or people you see as important. This type of communication style can make you feel as though you have no control over a situation.

In aggressive communication, you honestly state your opinions, feelings, and wants, but at the expense of others. You can be seen as intimidating, demanding, or rude. This type of communication style offends others, and their negative reaction to you can lead to stress.

In assertive communication, you state your opinions, feelings, and wants openly, but in a respectful, considerate, tactful way. In most instances, an assertive style works better than a passive or aggressive style.


Author Jeannette Curtis
Editor Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Associate Editor Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Last Updated April 22, 2009

Last Updated: April 22, 2009

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