Passive Aggressive Vs Assertive Communication

Ineffective communication may cause conflict among people, whereas poor communication strategies can only worsen such conflicts. Thus, people should employ effective communication strategies

to successfully communicate with one another and to avoid causing conflict.

One effective means for selecting an effective communication strategy is using the communication continuum. This continuum presents passive to aggressive strategies from left to right. Passive interests are normally used when communication is aimed at protecting the interests of other people over one’s own. On the other hand, aggressive strategies are used when communicating while protecting one’s interests over that of others.

Meanwhile, in between passive and aggressive strategies lie assertive communication strategies. Such strategies aim to protect the interests of all the parties involved in communication.

Assertive communication strategies comprise various techniques that can be found on the communication continuum. Some tend to be more passive, whereas others are more aggressive. Still, no matter which of these techniques are used, the main goal is protection of interests of all parties. Under certain circumstances, people may resort to using more passive or more aggressive strategies.

To communicate assertively with others, people can try the following;


People should try presenting ideas based on their perspective and without passing the blame to the other party. Instead of saying that a person made them up set, people should just say “I was upset.”


Some people may be tempted to call other people as rude or sensitive. However, they should avoid this undesirable habit and just comment on another person’s behavior without labeling them.


People will tend to use more passive or aggressive techniques if they talk for prolonged periods of time.


Though the right words may be used in a conversation, people should still pay attention to the tone of their voice and nonverbal signals.


People should be attentive to what others are saying to avoid being aggressive in the end.


Some people may be thought of as dishonest when they do not maintain proper eye contact during conversations. However, when people use too much eye contact, they may present an aggressive impression. Normally, people should maintain eye contact and take a few seconds to break away their gaze.

Sexual Harassment

Theresa M. Beiner wrote the informative paper entitled, “Sexy Dressing Revisited: Does Target Dress Play A Part In Sexual Harassment Cases.” In certain parts of the article, Beiner discusses about popular views on provocative clothing and sexual harassment and rape. The paper points out how harassment is influenced by perceptions of passiveness and submissiveness. People will also learn that revealing attired is considered a sign of dominance and assertiveness, and that is why, individuals who prefer wearing provocative dresses are at lower risks of being victims of harassment.

Meanwhile, Beiner’s paper also discusses why people think that provocative dressing results in sexual harassment or rape. As people witnessed from various rape cases, jurors normally think that a woman’s attire is indicator of whether she will be sexually harassed or not. This belief resulted from research that focused on women’s attire. In one study, women thought that the provocatively dressed model is more likely to get sexually harassed. However, when men were asked, they thought that women who dressed nonprovocatively or conservatively are also at risk of being victimized. Thus, this research concluded that it is women who are more apt to think that provocative attire increases chances of sexual harassment or rape.

Though most people think that dress is a significant factor in sexual harassment or rape cases, studies on rapists suggest otherwise. In fact, results showed that rapists look for indicators of passiveness and submissiveness, qualities that normally accompany people who wear body-concealing clothes.

Another study attempted to determine whether men are capable of assessing the levels of passiveness and submissiveness of women. Results of the research indicated that men could identify women as passive and submissive or dominant and assertive based on nonverbal appearance cues. One of the indicators that men used are the women’s clothes. Highly passive and submissive women are more apt to wear body-concealing clothes, such as high neckline tops, long pants and sleeves, and multiple layers of clothes. This result implies that men associate body-concealing clothes with passiveness and submissiveness. Thus, in conclusion, rapists, who prefer passive and submissive women, are more apt to victimize women clad in body-concealing clothes.

Thus, based on various research conducted, rape victims tend to have low scores in dominance, assertiveness, and social presence. As such, even though people think that rape victims normally were provocative attire, appearing attractive to others is not correlated with having submissive characteristics. In fact, studies have shown that a negative relationship exists between perception of attractiveness and traits that are deemed as indicator of vulnerability.

Still, results of scientific research contradict common belief on women’s attire and their chances of getting sexually harassed or assaulted. Moreover, the bigger question is why do most people, especially women, actually think that clothes are significant factors leading to such cases. Social scientists theorize that such belief stems from the “just world hypothesis”

In the abovementioned hypothesis, people believe that everyone in the just world end up getting what they deserve. Thus, this tends to make people believe that rape victims deserve what has been done to them. In addition, this hypothesis assumes that responsibility for one’s behavior adds to people’s security and that they can avoid suffering from the same fate.

In case of sexual harassment, more women believe that the type of dress has something to do with being sexually harassed. Victims tend to get blamed for their fate, which possibly resulted from wearing provocative clothing.

The “just world hypothesis” is somewhat related to “harm avoidance” theory. In this theory, women put the blame on the victims in order to control their lives and to continue believing that nothing bad, such as sexual harassment, will happen to them. And given that they associate provocative clothing with increased chances of being sexually harassed, they tend to wear more conservative dresses.

Power Of Provocative Communication

When people talk to each other, there are circumstances when one of the parties dislike what he is hearing from the other. However, though people say thing that we may not like, it is possible that their message contains something that we really need to hear out. The things that people dislike to hear from others may include negative things that are said about them. These criticisms may be delivered in a positive manner, but some people still find these things irritating. This type of reaction is proof of how a person resist one’s suggestion regarding changing his behavior in order to strengthen their relationship.

It is true that a number of people take action to change their selves. They may try to manifest good behavior and focus on the positive things, but they look the other way around when it comes to taking responsibility for their manners and hearing criticisms with an open mind.

Normally, when other people try to give feedback regarding his behavior, a person can come up with numerous reasons to justify that others are just trying to bring him down.


Lots of people resort to self-help because normally, they have suffered enough from being criticized and berated by others or doing such thing themselves. Self-help then becomes a form of relief and makes a person feel good about himself again.

People tend to believe more in chakras and crystals more than going out into the world and making their own choices then try to blame it to their parents when things do not go well for them.

In some cases, people try to establish a business and suddenly find themselves getting overwhelmed with the pile of work that they must accomplish. Though they all have the tools to overcome their struggles, some still just give up and fail to take responsibility for their behavior. As a result, their problems only worsen; they try to take a breather using self-help guides and just leave their issues as they are.

However, what can truly help people are friends or reading materials that will not only tell them to be gentle and kind to themselves but to also avoid not taking responsibility for their the choices that they make.


It will be very unusual for self-help gurus and coaches to ask provocative questions because their actual goals are to be liked and not to be considered as judgmental. Moreover, they avoid triggering pain and fear in others.

However, it is about time that people start facing and answering provocative questions. Answering such queries m ay help them discover something about themselves. They also learn to look inside them much deeper without resorting to crystal meditations or consulting their horoscope predictions.

What people must remember with provocative questions is that answering them is not about berating but being true to their selves.

For instance, when a person whines and complains, others do not point these flaws out of fear for hurting that person’s feelings or desire to provide support.

However, when people are asked about their own complaining and whining, they will most likely be offended. They may even refuse to recognize the fact that they whine and complain. As a result, they tend to claim that the person who pointed out their flaws shows no support for them.

On the other hand, if such people take time to reflect on themselves and realize that they do really complain and whine at times, then they are taking responsibility for their behavior. From this realization, they can think of ways on how to act better in other situations.

4 Common Communication Styles

Communication style refers to specific manner of communication utilized by people. Each style has its own advantages and disadvantages. Over the past years, studies were able to identify four fundamental communication styles: analytical, intuitive, functional, and personal.

Among these communication styles, none is better than the others. However, it is important that a specific style is appropriately used for specific set of audiences. Otherwise, problems may arise during communication. Thus, people should learn about the different communication styles and their differences and use the appropriate ones in various types of audiences.

One remarkable difference among communication styles is the degree to which emotions and information are presented. In addition, linear or freeform manner of communication also separate the four communication styles with one another. However, there are other factors that affect how these communication styles are utilized; people should consider them when communicating with other individuals.

People who employ the four communication styles can be categorized as follows:


Analytical communicators focus on hard data and real number and do not trust very much people who do not pay attention to facts and data. Analytical communicators also use very specific language when communicating and demand for specifics in messages relayed to them. These people also tend to be impatient when it comes to communication that utilizes feelings and emotions.

One remarkable quality of analytical communicators is their fairness and being unemotional. Thus, they can look at things logically. In return, other people see them as experts in handling high levels of data and information.

Meanwhile, analytical communicators are also at disadvantage as some people may see them as cold or unfeeling. This is especially true when they are communicating with personal communicators.


Intuitive communicators focus on the big picture and have little regard for details. They are straightforward and prefers looking at overview of things. Intuitive communicators thus get bored with step-by-step and discussion and constantly want to jump right away to end point of things.

One remarkable quality of intuitive communicators is their quickness and straightforwardness. They do not get overwhelmed with big ideas and normally think outside the box.

However, intuitive communicators are not that patient, especially ins situations that require extreme attention to detail. As a result, intuitive communicators normally experience trouble with functional communicators.


Functional communicators especially focus on processes, details, timelines and plans. They relay messages in step-by-step manner and they do not neglect include all pertinent details. Functional communicators do not work well with people, such as intuitive communicators, who like skipping details.

One remarkable characteristic of functional communicators is their considerable attention to detail. Thus, they are of great help in teams as they can work efficiently with making plans and paying attention to details.

On the other hand, functional communicators tend to lose the attention of their audience because of their extreme focus on presenting details. Normally, they tend to bore intuitive communicators, who are constantly want to jump at the end stage of things.


Personal communicators pay special attention to emotions and personal connections. They use such quality in realizing what others are thinking about them. Personal communicators are effective listeners and diplomats and handle resolving conflicts very well. This type of people place significant importance on their relationships.

Personal communicators can build strong and long-lasting relationships with others. These people work well in bringing individuals together. Personal communicators can also sense when something’s wrong with other people.

However, others may think of personal communicators as too emotional. This type of people experience trouble in working with analytical communicators and sometimes tend to become exasperated and emotionally upset.

In conclusion, understanding one’s communication style will help in better communicating with specific sets of audience. However, no matter what style a person uses, the main goal should be the effective relaying of messages to other parties.

Keys To Effective Communication

Communication is an integral component of people’s lives. However, there are cases when people mean to say something good, but the words just won’t come out right. As a result, other parties end up hearing things that just disappoint them. Misunderstandings, frustration, and conflicts may result from miscommunication among people.

Fortunately, there is still hope for people who experience trouble in communicating with others. Enhancing communication skills will allow them to connect more effectively with other people and build long-lasting relationships that are full of trust and respect.

In communicating effectively, people can start with the following:

  • Spend time for face-to-face contact

  • Add some humor

  • Disagreement is okay

  • Do not hold your breath

  • Listen before you speak

  • Take a break when stressed


Effective communication employs effectively sending the intended message and also listening carefully to understand what the other party is saying. Effective communication also requires use of non-verbal skills, engaged listening, stress management, assertive communication, and recognizing and understanding emotions.

With effective communication, individuals can strengthen their connection with others and improve teamwork, decision-making and problem-solving skills among people.



When stressed out or feeling too much emotions, people tend to misunderstand others or send confusing non-verbal signals. Thus, people should learn to relax before conversing with others.


Doing multiple things simultaneously results in ineffective communication. In such case, a person may miss non-verbal signals during a conversation.


Sometimes, nonverbal signals contradict what people are trying to communicate.


People tend to use body language when showing their disagreement with what others are saying. However, though there’s nothing wrong with disagreeing, people should avoid using negative signals to show their disapproval.



Listening is very important in effective communication. This skill indicates being able to understand the information being sent and comprehending the speaker’s emotions. In addition, people should realize that listening and hearing are two different things. People can sense something more when they truly listen. Engaged listening allows them to better understand others and build stronger relationships.

To become engaged listeners, people should first start focusing on the speaker. They should take note of the tone of voice and nonverbal cues that will aid them to fully comprehend another person’s message.

Next, it will be better if people listen with their right ear, as the left brain include primary processing centers for speech comprehension and emotions.


Nonverbal signals comprise facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, voice tone, and muscle tension and breathing. Understanding nonverbal communication aids in successfully connection with others and relaying messages effectively no matter what the situation is.

Effective communication can be enhanced using open body language, which includes uncrossing of arms, standing with open stance, sitting on edge of seats, and maintaining eye contact.

Nonverbal communication can be improved by realizing individual differences based on age, culture, age, religion, and emotions and considering communications signals as a group. Meanwhile, delivery of nonverbal communication is improved by using nonverbal cues that match what people say, modifying nonverbal signals based on the context of relayed message, and using body language to convey positive feelings.


People should check their emotions while communicating with others. Thus, it is important that they learn how to manage their stress. Overwhelming stress can cause people to misunderstand related messages or send confusing nonverbal signals.

Being calm during conversation prevents people from doing things that they may regret later on. Moreover, this state proves to be important in various situations, such as job interviews, business presentations, or high-pressure meetings.

On the other hand, people can stay calm under pressure through various ways, which include the following: use stalling tactics, taking a break and gathering one’s thoughts, present a point and support it with information to engage listener’s attention, say the words clearly and accompany them with even tone of voice and proper eye contact, and summarize the message before stopping.

Meanwhile, stress during communication can be relieved by the following:


People can realize that they are in state of stress through their bodies. During stressful moments, they are bound to feel certain discomfort and discrepancies in body processes.


People should allow some time for themselves to breathe before proceeding or discontinuing their conversation.


Stress can be managed by taking deep breaths, clenching and relaxing muscles, and thinking about happy thoughts. On the other hand, people can relieve their stress by using their senses to search for things that can soothe them.


Humor is greatly helps in relieving stressful situations and to lighten the mood of people conversing.


Both parties will become less stressed if they find a common ground amidst disagreements in their conversation.


Disagreements normally arise from conversations, and people should realize that it’s okay. However, to overcome disagreements, they must take a quick break to relax themselves before resuming conversation with another person.


In self-assertion, people should focus on their thoughts, emotions, and needs and still consider their wants and those of others. They should realize that their goal should be to understand the other party and not to win an argument.

Assertiveness can be improved by valuing one’s opinions and choices, recognizing one’s needs and wants, expressing negative thoughts positively, receiving feedback positively, and learning to say “no.”

People can also employ assertive communication techniques, including the following:

  1. In emphatic assertion, people convey their sensitivity to others. This technique also employs recognizing other people’s emotional state and presenting one’s needs and opinions.

  2. In escalating assertion, people become firmer with time and learn to predict consequence when their needs are not met.

  3. Practice assertiveness aids lowering risk situations and also allows for people to develop their confidence.