Communication Styles: Passive

We hear so often that communication is so important in a relationship. Communication is the key to a healthy relationship. And I’ve even written about healthy communication in those relationships using “I statements” or even communication expectations with a partner or potential partner. Communication should be the foundation of your relationship. With communication comes peace of mind, love, and trust without the anxiety of “what-ifs” or reading between the lines. But what I have yet to talk about, which seems like a brain fart on my part, is how different people communicate differently. It’s sort of like our love languages. We all have style. Knowing yours and your partners can help avoid any miscommunications or friction that might appear. 

Communication Styles 

There are four basic communication styles: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive. And they all have their nuisance. Each style has a different impact on the individual and relationships. Each communication style will get an article. I’d rather speak in detail for each with one than give a broad overview or an info dump that’s 4,000 words long. (Ain’t nobody got time to read something that long.) 

Passive communication

Passive communication is a style of communication where someone has a hard time expressing themselves. It’s usually a pattern of behavior, and those with a passive communication style have a hard time voicing their feelings, protecting/setting boundaries, and expressing their unmet needs. 

The thing to keep in mind if you are a passive communicator is that issues buildup over time. Since you have difficulty expressing yourself in relationships, annoyances start to mount up while you are completely unaware of the buildup. And before you know it, you have emotionally exploded unproportionately over something that didn’t necessitate such a big response. And usually, after the outburst, you might feel shame or guilt and cycle back to being passive. 

Passive communicators will often:

  • Fail to be assertive for themselves
  • Do not set and enforce boundaries
  • Fail to express their feelings or needs
  • Usually, speak apologetically or softly
  • Fail to make eye contact is usually accompanied by bad body posture when trying to express themselves.

Passive communication impact:

  • Have a hard time maturing since real issues are never addressed.
  • Experience confused feelings since they suppress and ignore their feelings
  • Feel resentment without realizing it because their needs aren’t being met, and boundaries are disrespected. 
  • Experience feelings of hopelessness from the idea of being stuck in place.
  • Have feelings of anxiousness as if their life is out of control.

Questions that passive communicators might ask themselves

  • Why can’t I set and defend my boundaries?
  • Why does everyone step all over me?
  • Am I weak? Can I not take care of myself?
  • Why is sit that people never consider my feelings?
  • Why do others take advantage of my kindness?

Final thoughts

Being a passive communicator isn’t a bad or good thing. So if you think that, I need you to get that out of your head now. Like the other communication styles, passive communicators have pros and cons. Most things aren’t perfect, so as a passive communicator, there are some things you should keep in mind and work on so that you don’t allow that buildup of emotions and blow up on someone. 

Be honest with yourself—self-reflect on what and how you are feeling. I know I’m biased, but writing is a great way to self-reflect. Journaling is so beneficial to your personal growth and mental health.

If I’m completely honest, I don’t do it every day. My life is too monotonous for me to be writing about my feelings every day. My journal entries would be “I woke up, did work, went to the dog park, and played video games with the boys.” (Plus, I write for a living, and I need a break from it sometimes.) However, I take 5-10 minutes daily to meditate and reflect on how I’m feeling. And then, on Sunday mornings, I will journal how the week felt. 

Find something that works for you, but find something. Then, take the time to reflect and work on yourself. We all have the ideal person we want to be, but it’s up to us to take the necessary steps to get there. 

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