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UNDERSTANDING YOUR COMMUNICATION STYLES
The way you communicate has a big impact on how you get on with people and get the
things you want. Good communication skills can help you avoid conflict and solve
problems – they’re also important for making friends and having healthy relationships.
There are 3 main styles of communicating:
Aggressive communication is expressed in a forceful and hostile manner, and usually involves alienating messages such as ‘you-statements’ (blaming the other person and accusing them of being wrong or at fault) and labelling. In addition, the person’s tone of voice and facial expressions are unfriendly. The assumption behind aggressive communication is ‘your needs don’t matter’ (I win/you lose).
Passive communication involves putting your needs last. You don’t express your thoughts or feelings, or ask for what you want. When you use passive communication it feels like others are walking all over you because you don’t assert your own needs. So you bottle things up and might feel resentful. The assumption behind passive communication is ‘my needs don’t matter’ (you win/I lose – and I resent you for that).
Assertive communication involves clearly expressing what you think, how you feel and what you want, without demanding that you must have things your way. The basic underlying assumption is ‘we both matter – let’s try to work this out’. Assertive communication increases your likelihood of getting what you want, avoiding conflict and maintaining good relationships (I win/you win). When you are assertive you can: express your own thoughts, feelings and needs make reasonable requests of other people stand up for your own rights say ‘no’ to requests from others at times, without feeling guilty.
Poor communication often creates tension and bad feelings within relationships. It’s always useful to be aware of your communication styles to avoid making these types of errors. COMMUNICATION TIPS - If nothing works and the tension is escalating, you must TAKE A TIME-OUT
Discovering which style best fits you can be done in a number of ways including personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) instrument, psychological assessments, and self-assessments. (MBTI, Myers-Briggs, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries.)