"The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

Assertive Communication

By:  Marcia Overstreet, LPC

Communication Styles Defined


Assertive Style:  You clearly state your own opinion, how you feel, and what you want without violating the rights of others.  The underlying assumption is "You and I may have our differences, but we are equallly entitled to express ourselves to one another."  The major advantages include active participation in making important decisions, getting what you want without alienating others, the emotional and intellectual satisfaction of respectfully exchanging feelings and ideas, and higher self-esteem.

Passive Style:  Opinions, feelings, and wants are withheld altogether or expressed indirectly and only in part.  The underlying message is "I am weak and inferior, and you are powerful and right."  The advantage of passive communication is that it minimizes responsibility for making decisions and the risk of taking a personal stand on an issue.  The disadvantages are a sense of impotence, lowered self-esteem, and having to live with the decisions of others.

Aggressive Style:  Opinions, feelings, and wants are honestly stated, but at the expense of someone else's feelings.  The underlying message is "I am superior and right and you are inferior and wrong.  The advantage of aggressive behavior is that people often give aggressive people what they want in order to get rid of them.  The disadvantage is that aggressive individuals make enemies, and people who can not avoid them entirely may end up behaving dishonestly toward them in order to avoid confrontations.

Written By: Marcia Overstreet


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