It is important to have the ability to state your needs when it comes to friends, or even family members. The communication style you use can determine how you respond to certain events. While you may think you have a relatively clear idea of what style you seem to use, taking the time to realize the different components of each style may be a benefit.
The first communication style is being passive. Passivity is when you give in to others’ needs, and ignore your own. This style may seem harmless in the short run, due to pleasing others, but you will learn that emotions are being bottled up, and will later explode. This can cause a sense of insecurity, and can lead to an increase in the next type of style, which is aggression.
Aggressive behaviors will ultimately destroy relationships. You may find yourself involuntarily pushing people away. You will find yourself judging others, and determining how they should be behaving. When they don’t follow your beliefs, you may get upset and feel the need to lecture them. You may get angry when someone doesn’t “do the right thing.” Some people have different morals and beliefs, and you have to accept that they have the right to their own opinion. It is common to feel determined when exhibiting this type of style, but learning to let things be is sometimes vital to relationships.
Another type of style is being passive-aggressive. This is simply when you combine elements of passivity and aggression. Maybe you are passive until you can no longer stand it, resulting in an emotional bomb. I am guilty of giving in to others’ wants, and then feeling shame for not standing up for myself. I will then get angry with my friends for not understanding my beliefs, but it is my fault for not being open.
The most healthy communication style is assertiveness. This is when you stand up for your own needs and wants, while still being respectful of others’. It is important to use “I” statements, instead of immediately putting blame on someone else. Instead of saying, “you are so annoying when you don’t listen to me,” say “I feel like you aren’t listening to me, which makes me upset.” This skill can be helpful in arguments, preventing anyone from feeling hurt or attacked. A big part of this style is having the ability to say “no” when needed. Everyone is guilty of making excuses for not being able to do something with friends or even family. Instead of lying, be honest about how you feel, and don’t feel guilty for needing some alone time. It is normal to decline.
Communication is needed to have healthy relationships, and can be very important when dealing with a mental illness. Being able to express your feelings and needs is a big step in recovery. If you aren’t honest with others, they won’t be able to help. I hope this post is useful, and can be a guide for keeping healthy relationships.