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Assertive Behaviour

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Assertive behaviour is interactional because it implies an interaction between two or more persons, involving:

  • Requests (asking for those things that you want),
  • Refusals (refusing what you do not want), and
  • Expression of feelings (communicating positive and negative messages to others).

Many people are confused by the concepts of assertive and aggressive behaviour.

Assertiveness does not mean:

  • Always having your way.
  • Winning every time.
  • Learning a few psychological tricks by heart and applying them in all situations.
  • Manipulating other people so that you always have your way.
Aggressive Behaviour

Aggressive behaviour is offensive behaviour in which the person violates the rights of others in an attempt to obtain what he wants or avoid what he does not want.

The person with an aggressive behavioural style:

  • Comes across as superior,
  • Creates a distance from other people, and
  • Expresses his own thoughts, feelings, and needs at the expense of other people.

Aggressive behaviour is evidenced in displays such as:

  • Pointing fingers
  • No eye contacts
  • Swinging the arms about

Aggressive behaviour often results from feelings of inferiority. The rule: “To attack is better than to defend” applies here. Often, his experience with other people has been so painful in the past that he is offensive or aggressive from the start to protect himself.

Passive Behaviour

Passive behaviour is avoidance behaviour. The person does not exercise his right or does so poorly.

The non-assertive or passive person:

  • Comes across as apologetic and hesitant
  • Mumbles when speaking
  • Experiences anxiety
  • Is often too afraid to say what he feels or thinks
  • Fears that he will be labelled as aggressive or that people will dislike him if he is honest
  • Tries to please everybody so that people will like him

The passive person:

  • Is pushed around
  • Is taken advantage of
  • Do things against his will

The passive person believes that he is unimportant and that his own wishes, needs and opinions are irrelevant.

Click here to see a video that explains simple tricks that will make your more assertive in two minutes.