What Is Assertiveness?

Assertiveness is a social skill that relies heavily on effective communication while simultaneously respecting the thoughts and wishes of others. People who are assertive clearly and respectfully communicate their wants, needs, positions, and boundaries to others. There’s no question of where they stand, no matter what the topic.

From a cognitive standpoint, assertive people experience fewer anxious thoughts, even when under stress. From a behavioral standpoint, assertive people are firm without being rude. They react to positive and negative emotions without becoming aggressive or resorting to passivity.

Individuals who are high in assertiveness don't shy away from defending their points of view or goals, or from trying to influence others to see their side. They are also open to both compliments and constructive criticism. Assertiveness is often associated with higher self-esteem and confidence. People can improve their assertiveness through practical exercises and experience.

How to Be Assertive

Being assertive is associated with a number of benefits, ranging from less anxiety and depression to a greater sense of agency and better relationships. Assertiveness is often confused with behaving aggressively, but they’re not the same at all.

A person who is assertive clearly communicates his or her wishes and sets boundaries, but does not necessarily make demands of other people or lash out if requests are not met. Recent research explores the pitfalls of not asserting oneself while offering practical advice for how best to do so.


Confidence, Self-Esteem

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