Communication Styles

Most of us have a requirement to participate in some form of communication on a daily basis. We aren’t generally schooled in the art of interpersonal communication, rather we pick it up from our environment and sometimes, what we learn doesn’t work all that well. Leslie and Leslyn are passionate about talking so they’ve put together a series that may help you do it more effectively; this is the first in that series.


We learn to talk at somewhere between 1 and 3 years of age. We learn from our environment and initially develop a way of speaking that mimics our immediate surrounding with no regard for it effectiveness. Along the way our pattern develops based on the responses and interactions most apt to meet our needs. They tend to fall into four different categories:


The Passive communicator rarely expresses as they don’t want to make waves or disagree with people. They avoid confrontation and hesitate to speak up. The are apologetic, self-conscious, and tend not to use their voice. Passive communicators may sigh a lot, ask permission frequently, rarely implements plans, and complains instead of taking action. They avoid, ignore, leave, withdraw, and constantly ask for advice. Generally they have low self esteem.


Aggressive communicators are close minded, bad listeners, don’t easily see other perspectives, tend to interrupt and/or monopolize the conversation. They believe their way is the best way and find it difficult to be considered wrong. They achieve their goals by domineering, bullying, patronize, and by speaking condescendingly; often at other's expense. Being bossy, putting others down, and overpowering people is their go to - M. O. Their emotions run toward anger, hostility, impatience, and frustration.


Passive-aggressive people say one thing with their voice and another with their body language and behavior. “It’s ok” when it obviously is not. “Nothing’s wrong” when something obviously is. Passive-aggressive people don’t make sense, they are unreasonable, and they don’t express their frustrations directly. They gossip, habitually criticize others, and compete for power in relationships. They use sarcasm to veil hostility by saying “just kidding” and resort to subtle “digs”. The ‘silent treatment’ and sullen resentment are common recourse’s. It is common for passive-aggressive people to lie, make excuses, back stab, push buttons and blame. They distort facts and mi-direct people attention.


Assertive people value self and the rights of others. They try hard and accept the consequences. They are an effective and active listener who states limits and expectations. They don’t judge. They are honest, direct while considering others feelings. They check in with you. They are curious and self aware; confident and playful; decisive and proactive. They are action oriented, fair, realistic, and consistent. They see options and respect others with enthusiasm, even temper, and a wish for well-being. Generally, assertive people experience self-esteem and confidence but also promote it in others.

Most of us cross from style to style based on emotion and situation but we have one particular style that is dominant and comfortable - some might say ‘automatic’. Leslie and Leslyn offer examples of each style and make suggestions identifying your style for clarity while you seek to improve communication in all your interpersonal relationships.