Aggressive Communication: Features and Examples

The aggressive communication defines a way of communicating that usually involves manipulation and the use of language for personal gain.

In fact, it is a form of expression of violence, which is manifested through both the verbal language and the para-verbal language of the person.

Adopting this type of communication usually produces a unidirectional information exchange. That is, the subject who communicates aggressively simply pays attention to his own expressions, rendering irrelevant the feedback provided by the interlocutor.

Aggressive Communication

When different participants in the communicative process use aggressive communication, the exchange of information tends to be based on reproaches and pre-established ideas on an individual basis.

Aggressive Communication

Thus, aggressive communication does not usually achieve the objectives of communicative processes, since there is no bidirectional exchange in its activity. On the contrary, this type of communication is usually used to transmit authority, demand or superiority over the other.

What is aggressive communication?

Aggressive communication includes one of the three main types of communication: passive communication , the assertive communication and aggressive communication.

In this communicative mode, the unidirectionality of the exchange between people becomes particularly well known. Therefore, the objective of aggressive communication does not rest on obtaining an informative feedback between the participants.

In fact, aggressive communication pursues opposing goals of exchange. This communicative mode is used to send clearly delimited messages to the receiver without receiving any type of reply or objection about the expression.

When aggressive communication is used, both the thoughts and the ideas or the attitudes of the interlocutors are irrelevant. The sender focuses only on his message, which tries to project it with the greatest strength and intensity possible.


In order to talk about aggressive communication, a number of basic principles must be followed. Thus, this type of communication is not limited to the use of foul words, high intonation or the use of screams or other force samples.

In fact, aggressive communication can often develop without the presence of particularly aggressive or intense vocabulary, although these are often witnessed frequently.

In this sense, the three basic principles that postulate aggressive communication are: the absence of listening, the absence of empathy and the presence of only personal goals.

1- Do not listen

Aggressive communication is characterized mainly by the absence of listening during the communicative process. This means that individuals who engage in this kind of communication do not listen to their interlocutors.

The absence of listening to aggressive communication not only refers to the lack of active listening, but also implies a complete absence of attention and understanding about the speaker’s speech.

In this way, the sender is limited to transmitting and projecting his messages, usually in a strong and intense way, and completely rejects the elements exposed by the other participants.

This fact causes that the communication is based only on the intentions and the ideas of one of the participants, since the discourse of the aggressive communicator does not at any moment take into account the information emitted by the others.

2- Personal goals

The fact that aggressive communication does not include listening among its elements of functioning is not in vain. In fact, the absence of listening responds to the objectives pursued by the communicator through the exchange.

In the aggressive communication only personal goals are observed, reason why the communicator does not present any other end than to be able to send the messages that wants to transmit.

This causes the communication to be unidirectional and the intervention of the participant is non-existent.

Unlike the other communicative processes, aggressive communication is not intended to reach agreements or share information with the interlocutors. The only objective is the transmission of the personal message, which is not modified by the replicas of others.

3- Absence of empathy

Finally, in the aggressive communication connotes a total lack of empathy on the part of the communicator.

Beyond not listening to the speech of the interlocutor, the individual who uses this type of communication does not give any kind of attention or concern about the effects that can originate his message.

In fact, the only objective is to satisfy personal needs, so that the emotions, feelings or thoughts that can originate in the interlocutor are not important elements.

This last principle of aggressive communication makes the exchanges cool and tense. During the communicative process, there is no link between the participants, who are distant and confronted.


Aggressive communication manifests itself through all the components of the communicative process, so it includes both verbal aspects as para-verbal, linguistically, attitude and intonation elements.

Keep in mind that the elements that constitute aggressive communication do not have to be always the same. Likewise, they do not always express themselves with the same intensity.

In this way, a conversation with low intonation and calm speech can also be an aggressive communicative process depending on the other factors identified.

Thus, the six elements that determine the characteristics of aggressive communication allow to identify this type of communicative processes. However, one should not fall into the error of identifying as aggressive communication only those exchanges that comply with each of the elements.

1- General behavior

General behavior refers to the overall aspects that show the behavior of the person while performing the communication process. So it does not determine specific elements of behavior, but rather establishes generic components of behavior.

In this sense, the general behavior of the aggressive communicator is characterized by demonstrating superiority through his acts. The communicator adopts a belligerent position with the aim that the interlocutor succumbs to its superiority and adopts an obedient and submissive role.

On the other hand, the general conduct of the communique is also characterized by being aggressive and imposing. The behaviors performed are not neutral and aim to increase the tension of communication to generate fear and submission to others.

2- Attitude

The general behavior of the aggressive communicator aims to convey a demanding and violent attitude. This attitude constitutes the basis of communication, since the main objective of the communicative process is to convey a defiant posture.

The violent attitude is transmitted through all the expressive mechanisms that the person has, so it is not limited to the use of the word.

In fact, the demanding attitudes of aggressive communication are often expressed through intonation, movements, and eye contact. While verbal content may be limited to be correct to avoid a direct confrontation.

For this reason, when determining a communication as aggressive, it is highly relevant to examine what attitude the communicator adopts and what tone he uses in his behavior.

3-Verbal Components

The verbal components refer to the linguistic content used in the communicative process. Aggressive communication, beyond the motes used, is characterized by the massive use of imperatives.

Likewise, they often make multiple criticisms of the behavior of others and are often used threatening expressions. These elements hinder the free expression of the interlocutors and are aimed at achieving personal goals in the communication process.

Usually, aggressive communication uses expressions such as “beam” “should” “evil” “you would do well …”. However, more neutral words can sometimes be used in which reference is made only to personal aspects and individual needs.

On the other hand, aggressive communication is characterized by asking multiple questions at once. In this way, the sender transmits a large amount of information to respond together, in order that the interlocutors are not able to do so.

Finally, when aggressive communicators are asked, they often respond with other questions or answers that are unrelated to the question posed.


The intonation of aggressive communication is usually characterized by being high. The issuer usually uses a strong, cold and authoritative voice. In the same way, the habitual of the cries or intonations increased during the speech is habitual.

The aim of intonation is that it is more forceful and elevated than that of others. In this way, the intensity of the voice used may depend to a large extent on the intonation used by the others.

In the aggressive communication, the issuer does not contemplate that the discourse of the others obtain more protagonism than his, neither through the content nor through sonorous intensity.

5- Paralinguistic components

The paralinguistic components define one of the main characteristics of aggressive communication: the time and the frequency of the spoken speech.

In aggressive communication, it is often the case that the sender uses excessive time to talk, thus monopolizing the conversation.

The objective of this element is to make difficult the interventions of the interlocutor, who has few occasions to take the floor. In this way, the aggressive communicator avoids the participation of the recipient, since all he wants is to deliver his message.

On the other hand, aggressive communicators do not usually pause or maintain silences throughout the communicative process for the same reasons as the previous ones.

Also, it is habitual the empelo of an emphatic and elevated voice that allows to interrupt the interlocutor when taking the word.

Finally, it should be noted that although the verbal fluency of aggressive communication is often adequate, it is often excessively fast, which makes it not clear and understandable enough.

6- Para-verbal components

Finally, para-verbal components also play an important role in the development of aggressive communication.

In this case, the verbal expression as well as the corporal position and the movements realized by the upper extremities usually emphasize.

As far as facial expression is concerned, it is usually tense. The frown usually appears frowning and they are accustomed to avoid the smiles and the expressions of proximity.

The look of aggressive communication is direct in the eyes of the receiver, moreover, this is usually fixed and penetrating, thus showing challenging attitudes and superiority. Often the intensity of the gaze forces the interlocutor to divert the view due to the discomfort it generates.

The posture of aggressive communication is intimidating. Usually does not respect the intimate distance and the orientation with the interlocutor is usually confronted.

Also Read: 11 Characteristics of the Proactive People

Finally, aggressive communication is usually accompanied by gestures and movements with the most intense and abundant. These are often perceived as threatening and play an important role in expressing the attitude of the aggressive communicator.


Aggressive communication can occur in multiple contexts. Likewise, it can be performed by different individuals with different personality traits.

Thus, there is no single type of aggressive communication. This may take a different form in each case, as well as presenting different elements in each situation.

In order to expose the characteristics of aggressive communication and to differentiate it from other forms of communication, three communicative examples can be presented in the same situation.

“A person will buy and realize that the seller has given the change badly, giving back less money than it should.”

– Answer 1 (assertive communication): “You have given me less change, I have paid you with a ticket of 20 euros and you have given me changes of 10, do not worry we can all be wrong.”

– Answer 2 (passive communication) “Sorry, I think you gave me less change, although I’m not sure if I paid with a ticket of 20 or if it was 10”.

– Answer 3 (aggressive communication): “Hey, you’re wrong. I paid you with a ticket of 20 and you gave me wrong change. “

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