Historically, I think I’ve moved from passive (in my teens and early 20’s) to aggressive (in my late 20’s and early 30’s) in my communication style. It took learning assertiveness to find a way to communicate my needs and concerns in a way that preserved relationships and got results. I still use the other styles on occasion, depending on how prepared I am for a conversation, or how ‘safe’ or ‘connected’ I feel to the person I’m talking to.
I came across this blog entry by my friend, Eric Stutzman, Managing Director at ACHIEVE Centre for Leadership & Workplace Performance in Winnipeg. I wanted to share it, as I liked the clear and practical ways he gives for responding to passive aggressive communication. I found his first point very poignant.
People use passive aggressive communication for a reason. Instead of joining in… we can find ways to make the conversation safe and open.
I also liked the steps he provides to both keep the conversation on task, and to respond to behaviours which are interfering with your goals. I hope you also find this helpful.
For more on communication see How to Start a Good Fight
To read about seeing boundaries see Where Do I Draw the Line?
For more on boundaries see When Boundaries Aren’t Respected
To read about difficult conversations see 8 Steps to Communicating with your Partner about Big Life Issues