Quiz: Communication Styles

There are four types of communication styles: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, and assertive.

Which one are you? Take the following quiz to find out.

Mark each statement that best describes how you react most often.


1. Someone cuts in front of you in a line. You:

a.) Tell them you don’t appreciate their behavior and that they need to return to their place.

b.) Assume they didn’t know you were in line and gently explain that you waiting before them.

c.) Say nothing and do nothing.

d.) Say nothing, but glare at them and “accidentally” push them a little.


2. Someone at work is making inappropriate jokes at your expense. You:

a.) Report them to Human Resources and demand they be punished.

b.) Tell them you don’t appreciate the jokes, and start making more neutral jokes yourself to set a different tone.

c.) Say nothing. You don’t want to make things worse.

d.) Make inappropriate jokes at their expense.


3. You are meeting someone for the first time and they show up 20 minutes late. You say:

a.) You really don’t like to be kept waiting and you think their behavior is rude.

b.) Mention the time, and ask if something happened unexpectedly to make them late.

c.) Say nothing. You don’t like conflict.

d.) Say nothing. You went home after waiting fifteen minutes and are no longer there.


4. You have a friend who is consistently 15 to 20 minutes late when meeting you. Eventually, you:

a.) Finally blow up at them one day, and then stop making dates with this friend.

b.) Tell them that you value their friendship, but are becoming increasingly frustrated.

c.) Just learn to deal with it so that you don’t risk any conflict.

d.) Start telling them to meet you 20 minutes early, so they end up “on time” without knowing it.


5. An overly critical relative that you see regularly tends to throw veiled insults at you. Eventually you:

a.) Get into the practice of pointing out her flaws as well. Fight fire with fire.

b.) Address the comments with, “Wow, that was a little rude, wasn’t it?” or avoid this relative.

c.) Try to get on that relative’s “good side” so you’ll be left alone.

d.) Avoid this relative, and be sure the rest of the family knows why.


6. Your friend habitually makes you the butt of jokes, even after you say that it hurts you. You:

a.) Start making similar jokes about your friend, matching each veiled insult with one of your own.

b.) Re-evaluate whether or not this relationship is healthy, and consider getting out.

c.) Decide that maybe you need to develop a thicker skin.

d.) Don’t bring up the jokes again, but begin doing things that bother your friend to even things up.


7. You go out to dinner and after a very long wait, your food arrives cold. You:

a.) Tell the waiter how incompetent you think he is and demand that the food be free.

b.) Tell the waiter that this is unacceptable and ask what they can do to make things right.

c.) Say nothing; you don’t want to risk having the waiter spit in your food!

d.) Say nothing, but leave a ridiculously small tip.


Majority Answers Are ‘A’: Aggressive/Volatile

Based on your answers to the quiz questions, it appears you have an aggressive style of relating to people. This means that you tend to be heavy-handed, harsh or otherwise step on other people’s toes when trying to get what you want. This can result in relationship problems and patterns of ended friendships and repeated conflicts.

What are the signs of aggressive communication?

  • Yelling
  • Insulting or personal attacks
  • Making threatening gestures
  • Pushing buttons unrelated to the situation
  • Walking away

You may be emulating a parent who had a similar style of relating, or you may not be aware that you can get what you want without offending others or keeping them from getting what they want as well. Yes, you can be kinder and gentler without letting others walk all over you. When making requests, avoid phrases that may make people feel bullied like “you must” or “you have to” and focus on language like “I think it would be better if … ” Also, think about what you are asking of others – are your requests reasonable or are they unrealistic, unfair or selfish?


Majority Answers Are ‘B’: Assertive/Validating

According to your answers to the quiz questions, you appear to have an assertive style of relating to others, which enables you to get your needs met without stepping on others’ toes in the process. Good for you! The assertive communications style is the most useful and balanced of all the styles, as it is the only style that communicates respect for all parties. Communicating assertively is the most likely way to ensure that everyone involved gets their needs taken care of. Assertive people stand up for themselves and their rights and do not take negativity from others. However, they manage to do this without crossing the line into aggressiveness since they do not attack the person they are communicating with unnecessarily.


Majority Answers Are ‘C’: Passive/Avoidant 

According to your answers to this quiz, you appear to have a passive style of relating to others. While this seems to prevent conflict, in the long run you and your relationships may suffer. You may feel like you’re getting along with people for a while, but you may feel resentment build up inside and sometimes explode with anger and frustration and not know why, as you allow others’ needs to be met before your own. Others may not even realize that you’re unhappy with the way things are until you’re really upset, when they would have otherwise accommodated your wishes had they been made known. Consequently, avoidance leads to unresolved conflict which can lead to destructive interactions.

What are the signs of confrontation avoidance?

  • Less interaction
  • Avoiding the other party
  • Feelings of resentment
  • Feelings of disappointment
  • Complaining to a third party
  • Less dependence on the other party

Learning assertive communication skills can really benefit you as you’ll learn how to get your needs met in a way that also benefits others. Find out how to speak up for yourself and make your life more how you want it, which will strengthen your relationships with others at the same time.


Majority Answers Are ‘D’: Passive-Aggressive

According to your answers to the quiz questions, you appear to have a passive aggressive style of relating to others, which means that you may not create open conflict with others, but you tend to step on other people’s toes in non-obvious ways in order to get what you want or to get back at those you feel have wronged you. This style of relating can cause problems in your relationships and lead to additional stress.

What are the signs of passive-aggressive behavior?

  • Goes behind the person’s back or goes over their head
  • Pretends to be friends when they are not
  • Engages in back-stabbing
  • Withholds something the other person wants until they get what they want
  • Displays anger indirectly

Denying what you truly feel is part of the problem with passive aggressive tendencies. You don’t want others to know that you are angry, hurt, or resentful, so you act as if you aren’t. Your feelings only intensify and become more irrational because you haven’t provided yourself a healthier outlet for them. Therefore, it is important to allow yourself to feel and acknowledge your emotions so that you can deal with them in a healthier way. Once you understand what is bothering you, then you can start to speak up for yourself and say what you mean.


Edited from: https://www.verywell.com/