Assertive behaviour is characterized by a constant search for win-win solutions to social conflicts. Assertiveness involves standing up for your rights and expressing your thoughts and feelings in direct and appropriate ways. Acting assertively involves being considerate of other people’s feelings without letting people take advantage of you. Possessing assertive behaviour increases the likelihood that you will get what you want without feelings of guilt.
Some characteristics of assertive behaviour are:
- Reasonable behaviour that holds its own ground and finds working compromises.
- Both sides winning at least something.
- Handling difficult situations effectively.
- Understanding which situations you can and can’t handle.
- Having a sense of self-worth.
- Controlling the way you feel about the world and the people in it rather than the other way around.
- Recognizing your own and other people’s rights and responsibilities.
- Always trying to be a more effective person.
An assertive person understands that they are naturally going to be incompatible with certain people and compatible with certain other people, and therefore, social rejection is simply an acknowledgment of social incompatibility with a given person and not a reflection of his or her worth as a person. Assertive individuals look for naturally compatible people with whom to establish relationships while avoiding naturally incompatible people.
Unfortunately, assertiveness is often confused with aggression. People think that assertiveness means getting what you want, rather than reaching the best possible conclusion for all concerned. Aggressiveness involves standing up for your rights in a way that violates the rights of the other person, while assertiveness is concerned for both your rights and the rights of the other person.