Do You Have a Passive Communication Style?

Good communication expresses one’s thoughts and emotions clearly, which is essential for a successful career and happy family life. But with passive communication, one rarely communicates their thoughts effectively. In this article, we are going to explain what passive communication is, how to tell if you are a passive communicator, and the consequences of this communication style.

Styles of Communication

There are three primary styles of communication: aggressive, passive, and assertive. People with an aggressive communication style tend to express their desires or opinions with little concern for others, whereas people with a passive communication style are reluctant to express themselves verbally at all and will often defer to others. The best style of communication is assertive. With this style, you can let others know what you think or want while still showing respect for their wants and needs.

What is Passive Communication?

Passive communication is a style of communication in which people don’t make their needs, wants, or opinions known. In this style of communication, people actively avoid stating what they think and defer to what other people want even when it is detrimental to them.

Consequences of Being a Passive Communicator

People often like to be around passive communicators at first because passive communicators seem kind and caring. However, this style of communication does not tend to work out well in the long run.

Passive communicators tend not to stand up for their rights, which can lead to frustration on their part. In response to this frustration, these people are prone to outbursts or complaints, both of which tend to damage relationships at work and home. This also decreases their chances of being given more responsibility at work because they do not seem ready to take it on.

Always giving in to other’s wants and needs can also result in low self-esteem and a poor sense of self-worth. It can lead to anxiety and depression as the passive communicator’s needs are continually unmet.

How to Tell if You Are a Passive Communicator

If you do have a passive communication style, it does not mean you are a bad person or that you are going to be a failure. It does mean you may need to put in a bit more effort to improve your communication skills so that you can express your own thoughts and ensure your needs are met while getting along with others.

If you tend to avoid clearly expressing your views or if you find yourself speaking quietly or apologetically, you may have a passive communication style. If you avoid stating your beliefs just to avoid conflict or to make other people happy, that is also a sign of passive communication.

Body language can also provide some clues. Passive communicators often slouch and avoid eye contact with others. These behaviors indicate low self-confidence and insecurity, which are common in people with a passive communication style.


If you do discover you have a passive communication style, you may be able to improve by learning more about effective communication and practicing assertive communication skills. If you need assistance in this practice, we at the Social Skills Center can help you learn effective communication skills to express your feelings assertively.

If your passive communication style has left you feeling helpless and unable to assert your feelings, if you feel pushed around by others and powerless to stop it—don’t lose hope. Seeking help to change the way you communicate is easier than you think. Once you start using an active communication style, you will find yourself and the people you communicate with beginning to feel more happy and comfortable.

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