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In psychology, assertiveness means an open expression of emotions, opinions and expectations, exerting interests and rights, while at the same time respecting feelings, expectations, interests and rights of others. With respect to assertiveness as quality of interpersonal communication skills, we distinguish the following behaviors:[1]

  • Passive
  • Aggressive, and
  • Assertive.

While the written word primarily appeals to reason and logic, speaking in addition to it also arouses emotions, motivates and persuades.[2] In this respect, the assertive behavior is a prosocial behavior that is clear, direct, it does all its best in order to express person's own point of view in a way comprehendible to others. Since it aims to win respect for person's own interests, it also respects interests of others. In a dispute, persons behaving assertively are able to clearly and precisely express what they are after, how they perceive the situation, what they think of it and how it affects them. Unlike disturbed characters, assertive people grant others opportunity for their expression, challenge and defense; and they are able to respond to sound arguments and evidence with correcting and changing their own views and attitudes.[1] An expression of basic emotional intelligence is assertive, not belligerent or passive. For example, when voicing a constructive complaint, the emphasis should be placed on action or deeds, void of destructive critique and personal attack that would leave the person on the receiving end feeling ashamed, disliked, blamed and defective; and likely responding defensively rather than with steps that could improve the things.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Eva Ivanová, Ľubica Kopinová, Eva Líšková (2005). ETICKÁ VÝCHOVA v 2. ročníku základnej školy (Etics for elementary schools) Metodická príručka pre učiteľov (Methodological guide for teachers) (in Slovak). Metodicko-pedagogické centrum, 16-18. 
  2. Interpersonal Communication Skills. Legacee Corporate Services. Retrieved on 30 Jun 2018.
  3. Daniel Goleman (1996). Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. Bantam Books, 154. ISBN 978-05538-40070. “Note: URL is for a later edition”