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Are You Assertive or Aggressive?

By JoJo Tabares

Do you have something to say but are afraid it won't be taken well? Would you like to present a different opinion, but are you afraid to rock the boat? Some people think assertiveness and aggressiveness are interchangeable. Others think they're being assertive, when in fact they're being rude. According to Webster's Dictionary, aggressive means "easily provoked to fight".

Assertive means "affirming confidently". In practical terms, being assertive means that you appear self-assured and being aggressive communicates an arrogant and angry attitude.

Skillful assertiveness goes hand in hand with a person's confidence, leadership and overall effectiveness. Leaders can use assertiveness to reduce confusion and inefficiencies caused by misunderstandings and crossed wires by being clear when communicating goals/ideas and by motivating others to get behind their ideas.

Being assertive with your friends, family and business associates can result in an improved self-image, increased happiness and more success! So why isn't everyone assertive? People report that they are afraid to come off as aggressive or simply lack the confidence needed to be a bit bold. God gives each one of us something to say and here are some tips that can help:

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© JoJo Tabares
JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication and has over 20 years of experience in the field. She is the author of the Say What You Mean series of studies on effective communication skills. For more information, please visit her website, Art of Eloquence at


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