The Difference Between Passive, Aggressive, and Assertive Communication

September 30, 2013

Filed Under: Communication, communication

Communication breakdowns are a common cause for conflict, and poor communication strategies can lead to rapid escalation. Likewise, effective communication strategies can help you correct these miscommunications to move conflicts quickly towards resolution.

One idea that can help you choose the best communication strategy for the situation comes from what Guy Harris calls the communication continuum.

The continuum runs from passive strategies on the left to aggressive strategies on the right. In passive strategies, you communicate in a way that protects the other person’s interests at the expense of yours. Aggressive strategies represent the other extreme where you communicate in a way that protects your interests at the expense of the other person’s.

Assertive communication strategies lie in the middle. These strategies depend on approaches that protect the interests of both parties in the communication – yours and the other person’s.

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