There’s a very, very, VERY important distinction to be made. Ready? Here it is:

Clean Communication is NOT the same as Compassionate Communication

It’s so common that we choose not to say something because, among other things, we’re not sure how to say it. Maybe we’re afraid we’ll just make the situation worse.
That is totally normal and valid. And there are tools to help us communicate more effectively.
Clean communication is specifically about communicating more and striving for authenticity. It aims to simplify and clarify lapses in communication by putting words where there is sometimes only passive aggression, subtle implications, or avoided conversations.
You can be cleanly communicating and not be compassionate, or polite, or any other number of things. In fact, clean communication can be downright hostile.
Clean communication frees one from being polite and/or nice, which is often a good thing, as being polite and nice can easily be a form of dirty communication. But, that freedom can also lead to aggressive and destructive forms of communication.
So, while the philosophy of clean communication gives us reasons to communicate, that communication still may not be in line with our values we choose to practice. Which means that clean communication is only one piece of the Big Communication and Compassion Puzzle. Other tools, such as Non-Violent Communication, can help one bring their thoughts and actions more in line with their values.
For example:
It would be clean to say “You are a piece of trash. I told you never to do that again and you did it! Stop it or else!”
While you are being clean, think carefully about how this can be balanced with compassion.
Compassionate Communication is a crucial piece to the communication puzzle, and there are many tools that help, such as Non-Violent Communication (NVC)  Non-Violent Communication is a language that helps us to connect with ourselves and others to understand one another, and to explore ways we can willingly and naturally contribute to one another’s well-being. It was developed by Marshall Rosenberg, and focuses on self-expression, empathic listening to others, and empathic listening to oneself.

Clean Communication


By assuming that: Honesty in thought, action and communication is more important that being polite or ‘respectful’.

There is potential for: Greater freedom in thought and action. This provides an opportunity for understanding.


6 Faces of Dirty Communication
3 Personas of Dirty Communication
Time agreements (in communities)

Nonviolent Communication


By assuming that: Humans have universal feelings and needs

There is potential for: A capacity for empathy, as we can see ourselves in others; our feelings and needs are theirs, too



Clean Communication provides reasons for communicating your thoughts.
It allows for a greater sense of freedom in thought and action.

Nonviolent Communication provides a model for how to communicate those thoughts in a compassionate way.
It allows those freedoms to be expressed in line with your values.