What is assertive behavior?

What is assertive behavior?

Assertiveness often gets confused with aggression.

Aggression is assertiveness taken too far.

Being passive is not being assertive enough.

Healthy assertive behavior lies in the middle of the continuum between passive and aggressive.

assertiveness quotes and training

Healthy assertiveness is being able to say what you have to say with tact. It’s standing up for yourself and others—with a combination of honesty and respect. And it’s being able to decide when it’s appropriate to voice your thoughts and feelings.

My assertive behavior definition is:

Expressing your honest opinion ─ with tact.
Standing up for yourself and others with tact. 


Sometimes people bounce back and forth between passive and aggressive. In that case, it may look like:

take it,
take it,
take it,

Neither end of the continuum helps you get your message really heard and neither end leads to healthy, happy relationships.

An assertive communication style is the healthy, balanced approach to expressing yourself. It helps you deliver your thoughts and feelings in a way that gets it out there while minimizing damage and increasing the likelihood that you will be heard. (No guarantees that you'll be heard even when you deliver your message with tact since you are only part of the equation, but if you don't speak up you can't be heard and if your delivery is brutally honest you can set off fight, flight or freeze in the hearer and lessen your chances they will absorb your message.)

Assertiveness is an attitude and skill that needs to be learned.

Check out my products, designed through working with clients just like you, to get help building assertiveness:

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A quick look at Talking With Tact book, help build communication skills, how to use tact, assertive behavior, what is assertiveness, being assertive, assertive communication
A quick look at Demystifying Emotions book, what are emotions, how to use emotions, what is emotional intelligence, how to increase emotional intelligence, manage emotions









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  • Ann Silvers
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