We Are Often Confronted With Situations in Which We Must Stand Up for Ourselves
The situation may involve a "friend" who continually borrows money. It may be a neighbor who prevents us from studying by playing music too loudly. It may involve a boyfriend or girlfriend wanting us to be something we are not. Or even dealing with a teacher who gave us, what we believe, is an incorrect grade on a test or project.
When dealing with such situations, there are three different communication skills we can use to express ourselves:
Nonassertive behavior is passive and indirect. It communicates a message of inferiority. This type of communication allows the wants and needs of others to be more important than our own. Being non-assertive is indirect and not completely honest, which usually presents a disguise of our real self. This can lead to emotional problems that include stress, anger or even depression.
Aggressive communication is more complex. It can be either active or passive, direct or indirect, honest or dishonest – but it always communicates an impression of superiority. Aggressiveness is in most situations inappropriate because it violates the rights of others. Despite controlling the situation, this could significantly harm the relationship and may still not have made the other person understand our perspective.
Assertive behavior is active, direct, and honest and expresses our own needs, wants and basic rights as a person without violating the rights of others. An assertive person wins by influencing, listening and negotiating so that others choose to cooperate willingly. By maintaining a good and respectful relationship with others, future dealings will likely be positive.