Are You Passive, Aggressive or Assertive?

As humans we all have needs, but some are better at expressing them than others. Some of us quietly but resentfully keep our needs undercover for the sake of others, some will push everyone aside to get what they want, and the healthy person can make their needs clear without making life difficult for others, even if it means putting in strict boundaries. 

Which one are you?

1) Passive

Passive people tend to say yes when they should, and want to, say no. They may even agree to do things that go against their conscience, usually because they are fuelled by a fear of disapproval and conflict. Passive people are easy to get on with but are often unhappy because they are living life for others and ignoring their own needs. They are easy to take advantage of, may be passive by nature, or may have been treated in a way that caused them to become passive in order to cope.

2) Aggressive

Aggressive people sit at the other end of the scale. They know what they want, but they go for it at the expense of others. Their way to achieve what they want is to put others down, disempower them and/or rob them of the right to their own needs. This may mean bullying (in any form), using anger or threats and intimidating body language. Aggressive people don't always realise what they're doing, but ultimately they behave this way because they don't know how else to protect their rights or get people to listen to them. Sometimes it's a defense mechanism, and it is almost always to do with their own low self-worth.

3) Assertive

An assertive person has managed a happy balance - they don't let people walk over them and neither do they walk over others. They understand their needs as well as those of others. Being assertive means being direct and honest about how you feel, what you think, and what you want. To maintain such clear communication we cannot be afraid to speak up (passivity) and we should not do so at the expense of other people’s feelings (aggressiveness). Unlike passive and aggressive people, those who are assertive earn the respect of others for their ability to set good boundaries while still being sensitive to other people's needs.

Which One Are You?

Depending on our background and personality, there is usually one category that we will identify with most. Once we do that, we can either learn to express ourselves, learn to put others first, or both. 

If you're not sure which, it's good to talk to those who know you best, and you can also take this test:

By increasing in our assertiveness, we give ourselves the freedom to be happy, to set boundaries, and to care for others in a way that is healthy and beneficial to both parties.