Communication Styles Examples (9 Types Explained)

Here, we will explain communication style variants with their specific examples to help readers understand better. This blog will also elaborate on what a communication style is and how these are relevant in day to day interactions.

What Are Some Examples of Communication Styles?

The following are seven types of communication styles along with their examples:

  • Assertive – “I understand that you want to play loud music, but I am unable to sleep because of it and cannot work effectively. Let’s find a solution that works for both of us.
  • Passive – “It’s okay, you can play loud music. I’ll just sleep some other time
  • Aggressive – “You’d better turn the volume down!”
  • Passive-Aggressive – “Of course you want to play loud music. It’s not like you care about other people’s needs.”
  • Manipulative – “I get that you need to play loud music. How else will you hide that you’re a sad and lonely person.

What is a Communication Style?

When a person communicates, they impart information from their inner thoughts to individuals in the outer world. This can be done through speaking, writing, behaviour, or other forms of expression such as artistic pursuits. 

A communication style is a specific way to do the above mentioned that forms a default pattern. Your communication style influences how you initiate an interaction, respond to a situation and express your needs or desires.

It can be called your habitual mode of interaction as no matter what the circumstances, you are likely to express yourself in this particular manner.

Different Communication Styles Explained

Since people vary in terms of their personalities, life experiences, and approach towards conflicts, they tend to have different communication styles. In this section, we are going to explore nine such types and look at their examples.

Assertive

Assertiveness is a communication style in which a person stands up for their own needs and wants, while also taking into consideration the needs and wants of others. In this style of communicating, the speaker is neither submissive nor dominating. There is no room for aggression and the interaction takes place with mutual respect.

Now, let’s take a look at three scenarios and the assertive response to each of them.

Situation 1

Your flatmate has been slacking off on house chores, leaving you to do most of it. You made plans for the weekend and they are going to spend it at home. The kitchen is a mess and needs washing up. Your flatmate tells you to do it when you get back home.

Assertive Response

Hey, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been doing most of the house chores and I think that’s unfair since we both live here. I understand that this isn’t the kind of work you enjoy but it’s important to divide work equally. Why don’t you clean it this time since I have plans and when I come back, we can figure out how to make this easier for the both of us.”

Situation 2

Your boss keeps giving you work without clear instructions and doesn’t give you enough time to get the tasks done. Then, he gives you negative feedback for not being able to pull it off.

Assertive Response

I find it hard to get the tasks done without much instructions from you since I am new to this. I understand that the work needs to get done fast but sometimes it’s unrealistic and impractical. Perhaps we can solve this problem by giving me a little bit of guidance or some more time to get the tasks finished.”

Situation 3

Your friend keeps borrowing money or your possessions from you and does not return it in time or in good condition. This has become a pattern and they do not seem to be aware of why it’s unacceptable. Recently, they asked to borrow your car.

Assertive Response

I find it difficult to lend you things because, in the past, I haven’t received them back in time or in good condition. I appreciate that you feel comfortable enough to ask me for favours but it’s hard for me to keep giving them if we don’t address this problem. What if I drove you to where you want to go or if that doesn’t work out, I can help you get a job to arrange the money you need.”

Passive

When a person has a passive communication style, they develop a habit of not expressing their needs, opinions, or feelings. They also find it hard to recognise their rights or to stand up for themselves. Instead, just to avoid conflict, they may put up with inconveniences and let others treat them like a doormat.

Now let’s look at some passive responses for the same three situations.

Situation 1 Passive Response

Hey, sorry that I have to go out. I’ll do it as soon as I’m home. But if that’s too late, I can come back sooner or cancel the plan.”

Situation 2 Passive Response

I’m really sorry boss, I’ll get it done as soon as I can. I’ll even work overtime.”

Situation 3 Passive Response

Sure, here are the keys.”

Aggressive

As the name suggests, an aggressive communication style is full of hostility and confrontation. Here, the person only cares about their rights and needs without any empathy or consideration for how their words impact others. 

While this approach may get things done your way, it can seriously compromise your relationships with others. It makes you unapproachable and people might have negative opinions about you.

Let’s look at the aggressive responses for the same three situations.

Situation 1 Aggressive Response

Why don’t you get off your lazy behind and clean it up yourself?”

Situation 2 Aggressive Response

How in the world am I supposed to get the work done when you don’t do your job right?”

Situation 3 Aggressive Response

How can I trust you with my car when you never pay your dues on time or return my things in good condition?

Passive-Aggressive

In this communication style, the individual appears to be passive on the surface. They overtly show that they’re okay with the situation. But they also let out subtle hints that they are angry, frustrated, annoyed, or unhappy.

This can be through sarcasm, loaded comments or questions, grumbling, or body language. Let’s look at the same situations with examples of passive-aggressive responses.

Situation 1 Passive-Aggressive Response

Yeah sure, I’ll do it when I’m back. It’s not like we both have a shared responsibility to keep the house clean.

Situation 2 Passive-Aggressive Response

I’ll do my best boss.” (followed by grumbling and eye-rolling)

Situation 3 Passive-Aggressive Response

So basically, I should start taking the subway to work. Here are the keys.

Manipulative

Someone who uses a manipulative communication style is skilled at influencing people to do things they normally wouldn’t do. By using people’s insecurities against them, they tend to take advantage of them. 

Other ways of manipulating them are by playing the victim card, using emotional blackmail, or through deception. Let’s take a look at the same situations with examples of manipulative responses.

Situation 1 Manipulative Response

Actually, I have to go this weekend because my mom is sick. I’ll be taking care of her and everyone else at home while she’s at the hospital. I don’t know if I’ll be back in time or even capable of doing it then. You know how exhausting it is to deal with an emergency. Could you please do it instead?”

Situation 2 Manipulative Response

You know boss, some of the other employees were talking about surprise supervisor evaluations taking place soon. Maybe if you helped me with these tasks a bit, we could make you look good and possibly get you a raise

Situation 3 Manipulative Response

Hey maybe you don’t need to drive there but you could rent a bike. It should help you lose some of that weight you’ve put on recently.”

Conclusion

Here, we explained communication style variants with their specific examples to help readers understand better. This blog also elaborated on what a communication style is and how these are relevant in day to day interactions.

The communication styles mentioned here were Assertive, Passive, Aggressive, Passive-Aggressive, and Manipulative.

FAQs (Communication Styles Examples)

How do you identify your communication style?

There are many online quizzes and tests that you can take to identify your communication style. However, a more reliable way would be to consult a mental health professional. Besides that, you may also read research articles on the web to learn more about which style represents you the best.

What are communication styles in the workplace?

Much like any other situation, the workplace too generally features the following communication styles:

  • Assertive
  • Passive
  • Aggressive
  • Passive-Aggressive
  • Manipulative

What are examples of passive-aggressive communication?

Below are a few examples of verbal and non-verbal passive-aggressive communication:

  • Sarcasm
  • Rolling of eyes
  • Speaking politely but handling objects aggressively
  • Taunts
  • Emotionally-loaded comments
  • Loud sighs
  • Grumbling

References

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