Aggressive, Assertive of Passive?

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Assertiveness is a method of communication that lets others know your ideas and feelings, while respecting their feelings as well.

A person behaving aggressively states her feelings directly, but she violates the rights of others. For example, suppose a neighbor asks you to baby-sit her four children and you don't want to. An aggressive response would be to say, "No, I won't baby-sit. You just drop the kids off and don't come back when you say you will and so I end up canceling my plans. And besides your kids are brats and don't know how to be quiet when my shows are on." While all of this may be true, your aggressive response may anger your neighbor or hurt her feelings.

Aggressive behavior often produces the desired outcome-at least for the moment. Releasing feelings of anger or frustration can sometimes give a person a sense of control in the situation. If, however, a person continually ignores the feelings of others, she may find herself alone and un-liked.

An Assertitive answer would be honest and direct, but not disrespectful. One such response might be, "No, I'm sorry I can't baby-sit today. If you need me to help you out in the future, I need to have at least a few days notice so I can fit it into my schedule. I would also need you to work with me to reinforce the rules of my house with the children."

Assertiveness allows individuals to feel good about having expressed their needs, thoughts, or feelings and about making their own choices. Assertive behavior also produces desired results more often. This skill takes practice. By expressing yourself in ways that don't put down or offend others. You are more likely to make your point. Likewise, making your feeling known, instead of keeping them hidden, lets others know where they stand.

When you respond passively, you avoid immediate conflict, but you may be upset and resentful because you haven't expressed your true feelings. A passive response would be to cancel your own plans and take care of the kids.

Just because you give in to someone else doesn't always mean you've been passive. It could mean you've made a conscious choice in yielding. Or, it could be because you honestly agree with the other person. Being passive refers to consistently doing things you don't want to.

How good are you at communicating your needs? Do you let people know how you're feeling? Or do you expect them to get that information from reading your mind? If your words say one thing and your body language says another, people will remember and believe the non-verbal clues.

Verbal language is the language of information

Non-verbal language is the language of relationships

Judy H. Wright is a parent educator, family coach, and personal historian who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family issues, including end of life. You are invited to visit our blog at www.AskAuntieArtichoke.com for answers and suggestions which will enhance your relationships. You will also find a full listing of free tele-classes and radio shows held each Thursday just for you at www.ArtichokePress.com.

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