What is Assertiveness?

What Does Assertiveness Mean

We explain what assertiveness is and what it means to be assertive. In addition, its definition according to the RAE and what is assertive communication.

Assertiveness seeks to achieve efficient and beneficial communication for all.

What is assertiveness

When speaking of assertiveness, it usually refers to a communicative model that seeks an ideal balance between aggressive and passive communication positions , in order to maintain a frank, fair and respectful information exchange process.

This means that assertive communication is a way of dealing with others, of saying what you want and of managing your own emotionality to achieve efficient and beneficial communication for all.

Assertiveness starts from the idea that everyone has their own and inherent rights that must be respected, which naturally includes the issuer. According to this, there are two types of traditional communicative models:

  • Aggressive model. One who contemplates his own rights very well, but very little those of the other. It is a selfish , narcissistic model , who usually attacks others or verbally violates them to impose communication. It is often exhausting for everyone involved and damages interpersonal relationships .
  • Passive model. He who submits to the designs of others, contemplating his rights well but his own very poorly. This model can be seen as "spineless," shy, or hesitant, and is often ineffective or ambiguous, often leading to an aggressive model later to compensate.

In this way, assertiveness proposes an intermediate path between aggressiveness and passivity, based more on reason, the spoken word and frank communication , without giving in to the emotions of the moment, but without either denying or undervaluing them. To do this, a communication model focused on the facts and not on considerations, on the expression of feelings and not on aggression, is proposed.

See also: Interpersonal communication

Be assertive

Assertiveness is linked to self-esteem.

Assertiveness was initially understood as a personality trait , which meant that some have it and others simply don't. That does not mean that it cannot be developed. Later, however, it was determined that this was not the case: the same person could be assertive in some situations and not in others, depending.

This is because assertiveness is linked to self-esteem , maturity, and other components of the personality that influence the way we communicate and the place we give ourselves. And these factors are not always the same or operate the same.

Assertiveness according to the RAE

The dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy defines assertiveness as a "quality of assertiveness", that is, "Affirmative" or "Said of a person: who defends his opinion firmly".

From there it seems to be clear that assertiveness has to do with the ability to clearly and firmly state what has to be said, to enjoy the respect of others, without violating the interlocutors, but not submitting to them either.

Assertive communication

When we see the other person with attention, we show and generate interest.

Some recommendations to develop assertive communication are the following:

  • Maintain eye contact. When we talk to someone and we see them carefully, not in an aggressive or invasive way, but simply by making them understand that we are interested in what they say, we demonstrate and generate interest , which feeds back our communicative expectations, since at the same time we feel included and part of what is communicated.
  • Maintain an open body posture. Arms crossed over the chest, rigid or distant gestures will sabotage communication, as they are non-verbal ways of showing disinterest or rejection of the other. The same is true when emitting: an open body posture will invite the other to listen, while a closed one will immediately discourage him.
  • Have goals when communicating. Knowing what you want to say is the best previous step to communicate, since if we do not know what we want to achieve, it will cost us much more to transmit it, and we may wander, lose the thread or hesitate when talking .
  • Balance communication . This happens by being aware of how long we talk and how long we listen to the other, so as not to be passive or overwhelming.
  • Modulate the voice. Maintaining an audible, but not shouted tone of voice, pronouncing completely and correctly instead of quickly and without modulating, are key strategies so that the other has an interest in listening to us, can do it effectively and incidentally grant us an important quota of attention, that It will positively feed back our desire to be active (or less so, in the case of aggressive people) within the communication process.
  • Do not give in to emotions. Instead of complaining or reproaching, or worse, insulting, it would always be better to describe the situation that occurred and what she made us feel, and then go directly to what we want so that it does not happen again. In this way we guarantee that the other knows what we want, what happened and does not get involved in defending themselves against a sudden attack.
Go up