Aggressive vs. Assertive Communication: Know The Differences

Some people hesitate being assertive because they fear they will come across as aggressive. Others may think they are being assertive, yet they are being aggressive.

Someone who is passive respects the other person but does not respect themselves. Someone who is aggressive respects themselves but not the other person. Someone who is assertive respects both themselves and the other person. Therefore, assertiveness communication is always best!

Here are five differences between assertive and aggressive communication:

  1. The assertive person freely shares their thoughts and opinions, while understanding that the other person likely has differing thoughts and opinions. The assertive person treats the other person as an equal. The aggressive person, however, believes their opinions and thoughts have more value than the other person. At times they feel like the other person’s thoughts and opinions do not even matter.
  • The assertive person uses a calm, agreeable, even friendly voice tone. In contrast, the aggressive person uses a combative tone such as yelling, or sometimes a passive aggressive tone such as sarcasm.
  • The assertive person makes sure their facial expression is friendly and open.  Assertive people realize that not only does the other person need to be treated with respect; the other person also needs to feel respected. The aggressive person, on the other hand, lets the other person know of their displeasure through negative facial expressions sometimes including eye rolling.
  • The assertive person speaks from their own point of view. They use the word “I”. Alternatively, the aggressive person directs their points to the other person either pointing the finger literally or figuratively, placing blame and saying “you.”
  • The assertive person wants both parties to win. They know that a win-win is the goal. In contrast, the aggressive person views the encounter as a game with a winner and a loser, and they want to make sure they are the winner.

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