Are You Assertive, Passive or Aggressive? Learning Your Behavior Style.

Are You Assertive, Passive or Aggressive? Learning Your Behavior Style.

There are three common behavior styles called assertive, passive and aggressive. We all tend to fall in one of these behaviors. Below is a description of each type of behavior, including characteristics, feelings, other people’s actions and other people’s feelings.

Aggressive behavior is characterized by putting your needs before someone else’s at any cost. It is expressed in a forceful manner. The feelings often related to it are righteousness, superiority, and angry. When using aggressive behavior with others, it is going to leave them feeling angry and resentful. It can lead people to feeling hurt and embarrassed in the long run.

Passive behavior is characterized by putting other people’s needs before your own, at the expense of you. It is expressed in a timid and weak manner. In the end, with passive behavior, you will not achieve your desired goal. The feelings often associated with passive behavior include hurt, anxious, and delayed anger. Once you realize you aren’t getting your needs met, that is when the anger comes in. Other people’s emotions tend to be irritation, pity and a lack of overall respect. That can lead to guilt or superiority by the people you are being passive with.

Assertive behavior is characterized by self-enhancing, while still taking into consideration the other person’s feelings. It is expressive in nature. As a result of assertive behavior, you may not always achieve your goal but you will have been able to preserve the relationship. When people use assertive behavior, they tend to feel confident and respected. Other people feeling the same way and ultimately, everyone leaves feeling valued. It’s the ultimate win-win.

Which one of these behaviors do you use most frequently? Assertive behavior is what is most often recommended by therapists to use. While being passive may get you secondary gains and being aggressive might push people to give you what you want, you do it at the cost of a relationship. Decide for yourself, do I have to be passive, aggressive or assertive?


Amanda Landry, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines, Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-378-5381 or email her at

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