Am I Aggressive Or Assertive When Acting Among Others And Does It really Matter?

Have you ever asked yourself:
    ⁃    Am I aggressive or assertive when dealing with people? And,
    ⁃    Does it really matter?
As soon as you answer the first question, you can pretty well figure out the answer to the second question.

If you are aggressive, your focus is mostly on the other person and how you treat them - you want to crush them if it will help. Whereas, if you are assertive, your focus is primarily on yourself and whether you are standing up for yourself and your beliefs.

Notice that in both cases, you are not laid back allowing life to come to you. Both of the above attitudes are about going after what you want, not waiting for things to happen by happenstance.

Life requires self-directed action. If you want something, you have to go after it. But, how you do that has consequences.

In other words, there are huge ramifications depending on whether you are aggressive or if you are assertive. Let's dive into the differences with some definitions.

Am I Aggressive Or Assertive When Engaging Others? - Definitions Explain The Differences -

To truly understand the differences between the two, it is important to begin with definitions.

    •    Aggressive means, “Hostile or violent behavior or attitudes toward another; readiness to attack or confront.”

    •    Assertive means, “Having or showing a confident and forceful personality.”

As you can see from the aggressive definition, it is behavior inflicted on another individual. How will the other person react?

Well, one example I saw first hand was employees who had good ideas would never bring them up afraid of how their boss might react. He might not like them.

The owner of the company I worked for was much more aggressive than any employer I had ever worked for. Working from fear doesn't produce as well as working from the desire to improve (which is killed by the aggressive behavior).

The assertive attitude, on the other hand, is behavior based on the person's personality expressing itself. It is not about inflicting something on another individual.

Consequences Of Being Aggressive

In general, how are your relationships going? If you have a very aggressive personality, you may get what you want, but, like mentioned above, it will be at a cost.

No one likes to be bullied.

Of course there are times when it is appropriate and necessary to be aggressive. In sports, athletes are expected to be aggressive against their opponents. In business, a company is aggressive trying to grow market share.

I can’t imagine a professional football player who is not aggressive. Of course, the opponent expects aggression. It is part of the game.

In most of life, however, aggression usually doesn't work well. There is a good chance that things will not go as good as planned.

To get good results, use reason and ask yourself, "Am I aggressive or assertive?" Then, adapt as needed.

Consequences Of Being Assertive

In general, do you usually stand up for yourself and what you want, or do you accept what life gives you (or what other people give you)?

Life gives you both opportunities and difficulties. It is up to you as to how you handle yourself when going for what you want. Of course, if you are timid, you might get nothing. You are leaving it to happenstance.

Life requires many things from you. For instance, you are responsible for becoming self-reliant. Once you become an adult, no one else is going to do it for you. 

Part of the maturing process is learning to take initiative when going after your goals and dreams. Nothing is going to be handed to you on a silver platter. You have to decide what you want, how you will get it, and if life hands you obstacles, getting up after being knocked down.

Being assertive is an important part of life.


So, how do you answer the question, am I aggressive or assertive when dealing with people? In most cases, when dealing with people, being assertive is good and being aggressive can be bad.

There are exceptions, but you have to determine your situation on your own. It is important not to be confused. With the definitions above, you should be able to figure out your answers about your behaviors.

Are you focusing on other people and how you treat them, or are you focusing on yourself and the kind of person you want to be? And if you don't like your actions, you can change your mindset. That, in turn, will change your actions over time.

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