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Do You Know Your Communication Style?

Relationships, Personal Growth
3 min read

Communication is a critical skill in almost every relationship of our life - from intimate to professional connections. Hope this helps you identify your primary style:

1. Aggressive: I demand that my rights & needs be met

Commands & Demands
Not actively listening
Air of superiority
Attack, blame, control, intimidate
"You" statements


2. Passive: I put others' rights & needs above mine 

Withholds to keep the peace
Easily gives into others
Air of indifference 
Self-denying, apologetic, inhibited


3. Passive-Aggressive: I subtly communicate that my rights & needs are important

Words & expression at odds
Confront & retreat
Emotionally disconnected
Sarcasm, mixed messages


4. Assertive: I clearly express my rights & my needs while respecting others

Confident & compassionate
Congruence of words & expression
Emotionally connected
Polite, considerate, grounded
"I" statements


Are you using an ineffective style more often than not? Rather than getting caught in a place of shame, gently encourage yourself to try something new and see what happens.

Many times, we have learned how to communicate from important others (e.g., caregivers) and we may have picked up unhealthy skills through modeling or unhealthy relationships/settings (e.g., toxic work environments). Other times, we may want to make change but don’t quite know how.

Change is hard without awareness and information.

Change is also easiest when we are self-compassionate rather than self-judgmental.

Remember, communication is a skill and a habit so the more you practice a more effective way of expressing your needs - whether at work or with a loved one - the better you're going to get at it!

- Pauline Peck, Psychologist

About the author:  Pauline Yeghnazar Peck, M.A., M.M.F.T., Ph.D.,is a licensed psychologist in CA and NY with a private practice in Santa Barbara. Specializing in anxiety, life transitions, trauma, and multicultural issues, she works mostly with the children of immigrants and cross cultural couples to break patterns of intergenerational trauma and create the love, work, and lives they feel happy to call their own. Read more of her content, or reach out directly, but viewing her Frame profile here.