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Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Effective Communication Is Neither Too Passive Nor Too Aggressive

Asian couple in kitchenDo you find yourself frustrated when you feel you are not being heard? Do you get upset when your partner didn’t hear what you just said? Do you get into arguments with loved ones, only to find out they misunderstood what you were actually saying? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you may benefit from reading this article on how to communicate effectively.

There are different types of communication. Communication is key to healthy relationship building. Think about it: Life is about relationships, and relationships are about communicating. Without healthy communication, relationships (and your emotional wellness) can suffer.

There are three types of verbal communication: passive, aggressive and assertive.

Passive communication is a submissive way of communicating. It’s unhealthy because it means you’re not respecting your own needs, which can lead to feelings of resentment, anger and mental exhaustion.

Aggressive communication is also unhealthy because it doesn’t respect the other person’s needs. It is a bullying type of communication, a form of dominance.

Assertive communication, on the other hand, is healthy because it’s a form of communicating that respects each person’s needs, which leads to trust and comfort.

Using statements that start with “I” is a respectful, yet assertive, way of communicating that allows you to own your feelings and thoughts. It also avoids blaming and attacking someone else.

A statement like, “I feel hurt when you come home two hours late and don’t let me know ahead of time” is more respectful and effective than an aggressive statement like, “You’re so inconsiderate for being late coming home.” This is shaming and attacking, which leads to the “flight/fight/freeze” reaction. This leads to the frontal lobe of the brain shutting down, so logic and judgment and consequences don’t function, which makes for a very ineffective conversation.

When you don’t say anything that about something that is hurtful to you (being passive), then your needs are not being met, which can lead to emotional stress.

There are also nonverbal ways of communication: assumptions, expectations, misunderstandings and agreements.

A lot of heated discussions and hurt feelings can be avoided in any relationship if we set up agreements ahead of time, instead of expecting someone to do something or act a certain way.

Read more: Cindy Saleeby Goulding, MindBodyGreen

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