Difference Between Assertive and Aggressive

Assertive and Aggressive forms of communication are common among people and can be seen in communication. How is it supposed to be used, and is it supposed to be used, if at all, remains a big question.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Assertive behavior is characterized by expressing one’s feelings, opinions, or needs in a confident, respectful, and honest manner without violating the rights of others.
  2. Aggressive behavior involves forcefully expressing one’s needs, opinions, or feelings in a way that disregards or disrespects the rights and feelings of others.
  3. The main distinction between assertive and aggressive behavior is the approach and intent, with assertiveness being respectful and considerate of others. At the same time, aggression involves forceful, disrespectful actions that can harm relationships and communication.

Assertive vs Aggressive

Assertiveness involves clearly and confidently expressing one’s needs and opinions while also respecting the rights of others. Aggressive communication involves imposing one’s needs and opinions on others without considering their feelings or rights. Assertiveness is a healthy and effective communication method, while aggression is seen as unfavourable and can lead to conflicts and hurt feelings.

Assertive vs Aggressive

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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonAssertiveAggressive
Meaning/ DefinitionAssertive is being and establishing confidence through mutual respect.Aggressive is being and establishing an attacking nature in a determined forceful way.
Pattern of SpeakingUnderstands and allows other opinions before speaking. They speak openly.Interrupts others abruptly and talks over
Body LanguageMakes excellent eye contact. The expressions are genuine, and it matches the message conveyed.Aggressive people tend to glare and stare at others. Their expressions are intimidating to others as well.
Group DynamicsAssertive people participate in the group by getting their opinions, acknowledging facts, and speaking.Aggressive people seem to control the group. No listening happens. It is most of the time speaking and speaking.
Result of CommunicationThey reach their goals by keeping all others in good humour and harmony.They also reach goals, but the process would have hurt others’ feelings.


What is Assertive?

Assertive is the art of standing up for oneself or others’ rights calmly and positively. Assertiveness is a skill one has to develop to establish good social behaviour.

Being assertive shall not hurt others while driving the point in a group.

Assertiveness makes others understand a particular point or situation without hurting their thoughts or feelings. Indeed, it does not affect the personal self too.

Assertive behaviour is all about respecting others and themselves.

It is the respect shown to others’ feelings, thoughts, belief systems, and opinions, and the same for themselves.

Assertiveness is an important interpersonal skill one has to develop. It helps people behave in inappropriate ways in a group.

Assertive people are regarded as confident and charming. It is also an art of listening and observing thoroughly before voicing out their thoughts on the same.

Assertiveness encourages others to speak as well. There is no event of interruption, or demeaning behaviour happens in the course of action.

The well-mannered action of voicing appreciation to others happens through assertive behaviour.

It is a great act of being grateful for others’ thoughts too.

Assertiveness brings the humblest aspect of a human across the table. People with assertive natures accept mistakes and also apologize nonchalantly.


What is Aggressive?

Aggressive behaviour is expressing opinions without considering others’ feelings and thoughts. Aggressive behaviour costs a loss of self-esteem in the receiver.

Aggressive behaviour is known to hurt others vehemently at times. How it is displayed is also not acceptable by others, but still, abide by it for the authority the person holds.

Aggressive behaviour is one aspect people should learn to get rid of. It does not display good behaviour among peers.

Aggressive behaviour disrespects others to the core. It simply puts down others for want of doing something that is instructed.

Aggressive people are considered arrogant and rude.

Aggressive people won’t listen to others; they often interrupt others when they want to make a point.

Aggressive behaviour is devoid of compassion. During a conversation, it is noted that they do not offer a chance to others to talk.

Aggressive behaviour is often one way; the instruction is given and supposed to be followed. There is no chance for others to speak or voice out any opinion, so where is the point of appreciation?

Aggressive people do not accept their mistakes. Instead, they point out others’ faults to hide theirs. The word Sorry is never available in their dictionary.


Main Differences Between Assertive and Aggressive

  1. Assertiveness is the art of conveying information to arrive at an amicable result keeping the self-respect of others and personal self intact. In comparison, aggressive behaviour conveys the information to arrive at a result without considering others’ thoughts and opinions.
  2. Assertive behaviour establishes valuing the self and others equally, whereas Aggressive behaviour values only the self and not others.
  3. Assertive behaviour never hurts anyone. However, aggressive behaviour hurts others during the action.
  4. Assertive people are observed participating in the group during any discussion. Aggressive people control the group and have the habit of only talking.
  5. The tone while talking also differs; the assertive person will have a conversational tone, while the aggressive person seems to speak a lot loudly in controlling others.
Difference Between Assertive and Aggressive
  1. https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/assertiveness.html
  2. https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/Assertiveness.htm
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