Being Assertive vs. Being Aggressive

Being assertive means sticking up for yourself and not wavering on your stance or point of view. Practicing assertiveness is achieved by RESPECTING the other person's viewpoint, regardless of whether or not you agree with it. It is possible to ask for what you want, get a point across, and receive what you deserve WITHOUT being aggressive.

Assertive people state their opinions, while continuing to be respectful of others.

Passive people don't state their opinions at all.

Passive aggressive people act indirectly aggressive, often by exhibiting resistance, procrastination or stubbornness.

Aggressive people state their opinions by attacking or ignoring others'.

Tips on how to remain assertive (and thus maintain harmony between yourself and others):

  • Speak up when you have an idea or opinion. Stand up for those ideas or opinions, and stick to them.

  • Make requests and ask for favors. Refuse requests from others if they are unreasonable.

  • Accept both compliments and feedback.

  • Request respect from others and give respect to others.

Steps to take when communicating assertively:

  • Speak openly, using a conversational tone.

  • Maintain good eye contact.

  • Demonstrate open body language and expressions that match your tone of voice.

  • Speak clearly and concisely, sticking to the point. Describe the facts of the specific problem.

  • Use "I" language, and keep the focus on your feelings.

  • Ask questions and for clarification from the other person. Do not attack or assume what the other person is thinking or feeling.

  • Manage your emotions and keep an open mind.

  • Value yourself as equal to others.

  • Listen to the other person's point of view without interrupting, belittling or walking away.

  • Remain honest, fair and direct.

  • Describe your needs, wants and desires. Explain what you want to happen next.

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