What Are the Different Communication Styles?

mother image/Taxi/Getty Images

There are five different communication styles, including assertive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, submissive and manipulative. Understanding the differing communication styles in everyday interactions is important in helping develop effective communication skills. Being assertive implies respecting oneself and others as well. It refers to the ability to clearly articulate thoughts and feelings via open, honest and direct communication.

The assertive style of communication, which demonstrates high self-esteem is the most healthy and effective method of communication. An assertive person is neither too aggressive nor too passive. He communicates confidently without playing mind games or manipulating others. He means what he says and doesn’t allow himself to be pushed around just because somebody wants his help.

The aggressive style is characteristic of people who always want to win, often at others’ expense. Aggressive people treat their needs as if they are more important than other people’s. People who communicate through this style behave as if they have more rights and have more to share than others. This style of communication is often ineffective as it may lead to loss of vital information.

Passive-aggressive style is demonstrated by people who appear passive on the outside but internally, they are burning with anger. Users of this style often feel powerless and resentful. The submissive style is about pleasing others in order to avoid confrontation. Submissive people put other people’s needs before their own. The manipulative style is characterized by scheming, calculating and shrewdness. People with this style are experts at influencing or controlling other people for their selfish gains.