top of page

Are you assertive or aggressive

Many people worry that if they assert themselves they will come across as aggressive. But there is a difference between being assertive and aggressive.

Assertive people state their opinions, while still being respectful of others.

Aggressive people attack or ignore others' opinions in favour of their own. Passive people don't state their opinions at all.

· Being assertive works at balance

· Being aggressive works at winning

· Being passive works at nothing

Here are some behaviour examples:

Passive Behaviour: Is afraid to speak up Aggressive Behaviour: Interrupts and 'talks over' others Assertive Behaviour: Speaks clearly

Passive Behaviour: Speaks softly Aggressive Behaviour: Speaks loudly Assertive Behaviour: Uses a conversational tone

Passive Behaviour: Avoids looking at people Aggressive Behaviour: Glares and stares at others Assertive Behaviour: Makes good eye contact

Passive Behaviour: Shows little or no expression Aggressive Behaviour: Intimidates others with expressions Assertive Behaviour: Shows expressions that match the message

Passive Behaviour: Slouches and withdraws Aggressive Behaviour: Stands rigidly, crosses arms, invades others' personal space Assertive Behaviour: Relaxes and adopts an open posture and expressions

Passive Behaviour: Isolates self from groups Aggressive Behaviour: Controls groups Assertive Behaviour: Participates in groups

Passive Behaviour: Agrees with others, despite personal feelings Aggressive Behaviour: Only considers own feelings, and makes demands of others Assertive Behaviour: Can respectfully agree and disagree with clear points

Passive Behaviour: Values self less than others Aggressive Behaviour: Values self more than others Assertive Behaviour: Values self equal to others

Passive Behaviour: Hurts self to avoid hurting others Aggressive Behaviour: Hurts others to avoid being hurt Assertive Behaviour: Tries to hurt no one (including self)

Passive Behaviour: Does not reach goals and may not know goals Aggressive Behaviour: Reaches goals but hurts others in the process Assertive Behaviour: Is mindful to reach goals without alienating others

Passive Behaviour: You're okay, I'm not Aggressive Behaviour: I'm okay, you're not Assertive Behaviour: I'm okay, you're okay

See MindTools for more information


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page