The 5 Communication Styles

Author picture
Written By:

Counselling Psychologist - M.Sc. Clinical Psychology

Author picture
Reviewed By:

Counselling Psychologist - Ph.D. Relationship Psychology

Image description

What is a Communication Style? 

A communication style is a style of conversing that involves verbal as well as non-verbal ways of conversing between a couple. There are primarily 5 styles of communication and every person has their own style. But it is important to remember the importance of every style because it helps in determining how a person communicates their thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs, wants and desires. The words a person chooses, and the tonality with which they communicate those words are essential to make a relationship healthy and more robust. 

Communication styles can be likened to that of various cooking styles of people. The goal is the same - to make a dish that is healthy and tasty and favours all the people eating it. Similarly, the goal of communication style is the same - to get the message across to the other person in an accurate manner. The ways in which the dish is prepared are just different styles. Similarly, the way in which the message is communicated is just different. It is important to remember that although there are different ways to get the message across to the person, it doesn’t mean that the style is always healthy or right. 

What are the 5 Communication Styles? 

As mentioned previously, there are primarily, 5 styles of communication, 

  1. Passive Style of Communication - 

This is a style of communication where a person refrains from expressing their emotions, thoughts, feelings, needs and desires openly. They avoid opening up and tend to avoid conflict because they don’t like confrontation. This results in problems because they tend to place other s emotions on a pedestal and their own emotions take a backseat. Their goal is to maintain harmony and they are ready to cross boundaries to ensure that their relationship is harmonious. This can be detrimental in the long run because over time such behaviour results in a lot of frustration and resentment that becomes internalized. 

  1. Aggressive Style of Communication - 

An aggressive style of communication is a style of communication that is characterized by violent, dramatic and dominant verbal or non-verbal actions to express needs, thoughts, feelings and emotions. Such people tend to use anger to communicate and this can cause a lot of insecurity and fear to creep into the relationship. There have been instances of couples getting strained because of this kind of communication style. The goal here is not to maintain harmony as in the case of a passive style of communication but to win all arguments. People with such a communication style tend to blame, accuse and show no empathy towards others. 

  1. Passive-Aggressive Style of Communication - 

Passive-Aggressive style of communication is a style of communication where there is a mixture of passiveness and aggressiveness in the communication patterns. This means that such kind of communication style involves people being excessively negative to their partner whilst making sure that they hide things from their partners. Such kind of behaviour can cause a lot of confusion to arise because the other party doesn’t often know what stand their partner is taking. People who communicate using this style often resemble that of a poisoned candy where they appear to be sweet on the outside but on the inside, they are often unpleasant and toxic. Passive-aggressiveness is a style of communication that involves a lot of hostility and negativity and this can cause frustration to build up in the relationship. 

  1. Manipulation Style of Communication - 

Manipulative style of communication is another dangerous type of communication where people manipulate or alter conversations to influence or gain control over their partners during a conversation. When someone is using a manipulative style of communication it is often found that they play the role of a puppet master where they control the listeners and influence their emotions, thoughts and feelings as per their convenience. They might appear to be charming and persuasive but their intentions are never in the right place. They often aim to find a benefit only for themselves. Getting involved with people who use a manipulative style of communication can have severe negative outcomes, so it is best to steer clear once it comes to your notice. 

  1. Assertive Style of Communication - 

This is perhaps the healthiest form of communication out of all forms of communication. In an assertive style of communication, people make use of their words and tone in a respectful manner and ensure that they are expressing these fully without hiding them for the sake of manipulation or otherwise. Similarly, such types of people are mindful when expressing their feelings and thoughts. They are empathetic and not aggressive or rude. Assertiveness is a skill that everyone must try to inculcate because it helps you draw boundaries from people and situations that are not helpful and at the same time will help you gain confidence during difficult conversations. 

The Key Skills for Developing a Healthier Pattern of Communication 

No one is born with a healthy communication style. Everyone learns it on their way and there is never an incorrect time to start learning. Here are a few skills to keep in mind while developing a healthier pattern of communication, 

  1. Self-Awareness -

One of the first things you can do to have a healthier pattern of communication is to become self-aware. Self-awareness involves being aware of one’s emotions, thoughts, feelings, needs and desires. You must be in a position to know how you react when you get angry or sad or happy. When you are able to reflect on your emotions and their reactions you will be able to do a good job in communicating them to your partner. 

  1. Empathetic Listening - 

A large part of communication also involves being a good listener. A good listener is one who is empathetic towards their partner. This means that if your partner expresses something to you in confidence, you must think about the situation from their perspective and put yourself in their shoes to understand what they are going through. Unsympathetic listening is where you throw advice and suggestions to your partner when they come to you after a situation occurs. This is not helpful because you are not trying to understand your partner, instead, you are trying to override their reactions and emotions.  

  1. Non-Verbal Cues - 

Only 10% of all communication is through verbal means. The rest 90% is through non-verbal means. This means that a large part of communication involves non-verbal cues. Non-verbal cues include body language, facial expressions, tonality of voice etc. In order to be a healthy communicator, it is important to understand non-verbal cues and use them in a proper, healthy way. 

  1. Refrain from Using Negative Words - 

Whether it be conflict situations or otherwise, a good tip is to refrain from using negative words. Negative words like “always”, “never”, and “hate”, have a strong impact. Using positive words is always beneficial because your partner will be more likely to listen to your point of view and you are more likely to resolve your arguments. 

  1. Draw Boundaries - 

Drawing boundaries is an important aspect of communication. Using open, assertive words you must draw boundaries. This can be done even with your partner because only then will you and your partner be able to build an environment that is healthy and respectful. 

In conclusion, these 5 styles of communication are very important for you to know and understand because accordingly, you can change the behaviours that are unhealthy so that you and your partner and your relationship are benefited in the long run. And we are here to help you every step of the way! 

Ms. Priyanka Walia
Ms. Priyanka Walia M.A. Counselling Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

View Reviews

Get up to 50% OFF on counselling session
Ms. Muskan Maheshwari
Ms. Muskan Maheshwari M.Sc. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 02 years of experience

View Reviews

Get up to 50% OFF on counselling session
Mr. Nishant Sharma
Mr. Nishant Sharma M.Phil. Clinical Psychology Clinical Psychologist 07 years of experience

View Reviews

Get up to 50% OFF on counselling session
Ms. Akshita Bakshi
Ms. Akshita Bakshi Ph.D. Relationship Psychology Counselling Psychologist 05 years of experience

View Reviews

Get up to 50% OFF on online counselling session

Request a call back

Need any consultations contact with us