Conversational aggression and how it affects other people

by Nick Tufano, Staff Writer

   People spend too much time trying to convince others of their opinion aggressively. Studies show that this communication style leads to fear of sharing, more significant stress, lack of connection, negative interactions, and poor goal achievement. 

Now, I know what you’re thinking, that is an opinion of mine and I am going to spend the rest of my article trying to convince you of it so it’s pretty contradictory. While this may be true, my style of communication doesn’t punish you for not thinking the way I do. When your intention is not to enlighten someone and rather to belittle them for thinking how they do, it elevates levels of negative emotions and hostility to your conversations. 

For me, I hate conflict. If I’m involved in an argument, I get irrational and find it difficult to gather my thoughts. The problem with the aggressive culture surrounding arguments and disagreements is that, when emotions get heightened, it makes it hard for anybody to think clearly. Studies have shown that aggressive people create a false sense of righteousness and a fabricated power imbalance between them and the person they are conversing with. This treatment can overwhelm the person on the receiving end and is ultimately ineffective at solving conflicts.

One must understand there are many reasons aggressive communication is used in conversations, both intentionally or unintentionally. It can stem from childhood, parenting, and living in environments that are insensitive with their word choice. Some aren’t even aware of their communication style and the way it affects others. Luckily, there are many ways to self-analyze the way you present your thoughts and change your behavior in a positive way. Reports from Mayo Clinic have shown that even slight adjustments to how you present your thoughts have led to boosted self-esteem, better stress management, and mutual respect between both parties. 

To disconnect between aggression and arguments, we need to put more care into our own behavior and the wants and needs of others. Actively listening to others’ points of view will stop you before immediately beginning to defend your own opinion. We must understand others first before trying to be understood. Remaining calm with both your tone of voice and body language will help the conflict from escalating to another degree. It’s not just the things you say but how you say them. If you want to have more insightful, thought-out discussions, you must improve your attitude first and ensure that your conversations are free of aggression.