Assertive vs Aggressive 😤 Which is Positive and Which is Negative?


There is a big difference between being assertive and being aggressive.

1. If you are assertive, it means you are not afraid to express your opinions or ideas clearly, but are respectful to others.

2. If you are aggressive you attack others’ ideas and do not respect them, while sharing your ideas.

There is a very fine line between what is considered assertive and what is considered aggressive, as they both mean forceful, but assertive is positive, and aggressive is negative.

Assertive definition


If someone is described as ‘assertive’, they have a confident or forceful personality. They’re not afraid to speak their mind and make people listen to their opinion.

Assertive people often make good leaders, as they’re good at sharing their views and making other people listen to them in a polite and respectful way. It’s often difficult to be assertive if you’re not self-confident or do not believe in what you’re saying.

  • Jane is very assertive, which makes her an excellent candidate for the position.
  • If you were just a little bit more assertive, you wouldn’t have the problem of people taking advantage of you.
  • You have to be assertive in a relationship, so that your partner knows what you want and need.

Assertive Synonyms
Confident, Self-assured

Aggressive definition


If someone is ‘aggressive’ it often means that they are violent, that they have physically hurt people or that they resort to physical violence very quickly.

If you describe someone as ‘aggressive’, it’s very negative.

However, someone can also be aggressive with words. People who are aggressive with words attack or confront other people in a way that can be forceful in a negative way.

They often don’t listen to other people’s opinions, or they attack other people’s opinions in a way that isn’t respectful. Often people who feel insecure or defensive become aggressive in order to defend their point of view.

People who are aggressive often don’t make good leaders, as they react strongly and negatively to situations, causing negative feelings amongst others.

  • Did you see how aggressive Thomas was being? He was shouting and waving his fist in the air. I’m not surprised Doris cried.
  • Jemima, you’re being too aggressive. Please just listen to me without attacking what I’m saying.

Aggressive synonyms
Hostile, Forceful


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