Nonverbal Behaviour

Nonverbal Behaviour

Passive, Assertive and Aggressive people can also show different nonverbal reactions within their behaviours as well as the way in which they act, react and talk to others.


Passive Assertive Aggressive


  • Hand wringing
  • Hunching shoulders
  • Covering Mouth with hands
  • Crossing arms for protection
  • Open hand movements
  • Sitting/Standing upright and relaxed
  • Finger pointing
  • First clenching
  • Striding around (impatiently)
  • Leaning forward or over
  • Crossing arms (unapproachable)


Passive Assertive Aggressive
Eye Contact

  •  Evasive
  • Looking down
  • Firm direct eye contact without staring
  • Trying to stare down and intimidate


Passive Assertive Aggressive


  •  'Ghost' smiles when expressing anger or being criticised
  • Raising eyebrows in anticipation
  • Jaws trembling, lip biting
  • Quick-changing features
  • Smiling when pleased
  • Frowning when angry
  • Features steady
  • Jaw relaxed
  • Smiling may become sneering
  • Scowling when angry
  • Jaws set firm


Passive Assertive Aggressive


  •  Hesitate and filled with pauses
  • Sometimes jerking from fast to slow
  • Frequent throat clearing
  • Fluent, few hesitations
  • Emphasising key words
  • Steady even pace
  •  Fluent, few hesitations
  • Often abrupt, clipped
  • Emphasising blaming words
  • Often fast


Passive Assertive Aggressive

  • Often dull and monotonous
  • Tone may be singsong or whining
  • Over-soft or over-warm
  • Quiet, often dropping away
  • Steady and firm
  • Tone is middle range, rich and warm
  • Sincere and clear
  • Not over-loud or quiet
  • Very firm
  • Tone is sarcastic, sometimes cold and harsh
  • Hard and sharp
  • Strident, often shouting, rising at end