Passive Communication: What It Is And How To Recognize It In 4 Characteristics

Passive communication

Communication can be established in many different ways. Ultimately, people’s needs, preferences and, in general, personality patterns greatly influence the way we externalize ideas, beliefs and feelings. Passive communication is an example of this

In this article we will see what the characteristics of this type of communication are, how it is expressed, what its drawbacks are and how it is possible to improve in this aspect.

What is passive communication?

A summarized and simple definition of what passive communication is is the following: a communicative pattern characterized by the avoidance of entering into direct confrontation with others through what is expressed.

Thus, it is part of a dynamic of relationships with others. in which there is hardly any assertiveness and the feeling of vulnerability prevails

Its basic characteristics

Below we review the fundamental characteristics of passive communication.

1. Non-verbal language keeping a low profile

What is said does not take on meaning based only on the phrases and words used, but we must also take into account how it is said. And more specifically, the non-verbal language that accompanies the verbally transmitted message

In the case of passive communication, a non-verbal communication style that expresses submission prevails: avoidance of the other’s gaze or lowered gaze, tone of voice somewhat lower than that of the other, defensive posture, etc.

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2. Frequent use of an impersonal perspective

There are certain opinions and points of view that people who adopt passive communication do express, but if they believe that they are slightly problematic because they imply things that cause discomfort to the listener, they often use an impersonal tone instead of a first-person one

For example, to request that a defect in the office be repaired, one will not talk about the harm that the fact that the defect exists means to oneself, but rather the presentation of the problem will be more along the lines of “it would be good if the defect were repaired.” It is a use of the passive that corresponds to the concept of passive communication.

3. Avoidance of direct confrontation and use of euphemisms

Another typical characteristic of passive communication is that it is not directly shown that there is a clash of ideas or interests. Instead, in the event that there is indeed a mismatch of opinions or needs, is expressed in a supposedly neutral way as if all parties involved in the conversation are actually looking for a win-win solution, even when that really isn’t the case.

For example, if two people apply for the same position, it can be said that both are “looking for their place in the company.”

4. Avoidance of the expression of feelings

People who fit the typical passive communication pattern they tend not to talk about their feelings as if they were part of the argumentation that supports their statements, even when these are relevant to the topic being discussed. In these cases, once again, an impersonal type of way of speaking is used.

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The disadvantages of this behavior pattern

As we have seen, in passive communication there is a clear lack of assertiveness. As a consequence of this, several consequences can mainly occur.

Either misunderstandings appear, since there is a part of the information that is not being revealed even though it is important, or the person who maintains passive communication see how their needs are not met and their interests are not taken into account This second case also has negative repercussions derived from that situation.

Specifically, the fact of not expressing one’s needs and feelings leads to psychological exhaustion (and often also physical, if it leads to having to work harder to achieve total or partial satisfaction of a need). As time passes, passive communication leads to the accumulation of frustrations, reasons for resentment and general discomfort

Eventually, all of this may trigger psychological crises, or even outbursts of rage that conflict with the tendency to keep a low profile that characterizes passive communication. When this occurs, it is difficult to maintain correct emotional regulation, and it is possible not only to compromise one’s own well-being, but also to damage personal relationships or blame people who are not responsible for what happened.

In general, passive communication feeds the maintenance of low self-esteem since it helps perpetuate a dynamic of submission to the rest.

What to do to improve your communication style?

Although it may seem that passive communication serves to avoid conflicts, in reality this is not the case, because without assertiveness there is always one party that is harmed, while there is another that gets used to putting its interests first. That is why it is worth leaving the passive communication style. To achieve this, it is good to follow the following tips.

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