Bhave Institute of Mental Health

Bhave Institute of Mental Health


All of us have experienced being steamrolled into doing something we don’t really want
because the other person was too forceful or we couldn’t stand up to them and refuse.
Communication is a cornerstone of any and every interaction or relationship that we
experience in everyday life. So it is of little wonder that how we communicate determines
what others think of us, where we get to in life or the nature of our relationship with others.
Before understanding how we can communicate better, it is important to understand the
different styles of communication.
– Aggressive communication
This style involves being forceful and trying to impose one’s opinions on others.
People often talk too loudly with an overwhelming body language. They are poor
listeners and are quick to argue/ anger. They often alienate others around them.
– Passive communication
This style involves not voicing one’s feelings, needs or opinions enough. They often
side-line their views and are overly deferential towards others. They speak quietly or
with a hesitating voice, or with body-language like looking at the floor or shrugging
the shoulders. While this can momentarily maintain peace, in the long run it results
in pent up frustration, low self-esteem or social anxiety. Such people can often feel
hurt or angry as their needs are not addressed.

– Assertive communication
This is the most desirable style of communication. It strikes the right balance
between polite yet firm. Three Cs of this communication style are
Clear: stating your thoughts simply without attaching too much emotion to it.
Consistent: hold your ground while conveying your thoughts.
Courteous: respect your listener and communicate in a manner that doesn’t pass
judgment on them or presume ill-intent.

Tips to communicate more effectively
– Maintain a calm tone: the tone we take up influences the conversation a lot. Raised
voices automatically convert a discussion into an argument and drastically reduces
chances of acceptance of your view by others.
– Clock your body language: maintaining proper eye contact, leaning slightly in, not
keeping your arms crossed signify you are open and receptive to the conversation.
– Learn to say ‘no’: A good way to decline someone’s request is simply to say “no” and
offer a brief explanation for why you can’t help. You don’t have to be apologetic or
offer lengthy explanations. A simple ‘sorry’ should suffice. In some cases, you may
also be able to redirect them to another person or an external resource that you feel
might be able to help.

– Stick to facts: Focus on the facts at hand rather than letting your feelings cause you
to speculate about the other person’s motives. Using words like “always” or “never”
feels like exaggeration and veers the topic off course.
– Use “I” statements: this makes your statements feel less like blaming and conveys
better how you feel about the situation. For e.g., Saying “I feel hurt when you do
this” rather than saying “you always hurt me” changes the narrative.

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