meetingAssertiveness involves standing up for one’s rights or expressing one’s feelings, opinions, and preferences in a way that is honest, direct and appropriate. It involves respecting your own rights as well as the rights of others. Many types of situations require assertiveness, including: making a request; granting or refusing a request; and giving or accepting a compliment.

The Counseling Center helps people improve their communication and assertiveness skills. We help identify roadblocks to assertiveness and the benefits of assertive behavior and teach strategies to help people become more assertive in their interactions with others.

The University of Victoria in Canada website contains information for people who have difficulty being assertive. It includes a chart “Assertiveness Continuum of Behavior” which compares and contrasts the typical actions or responses of a Non-Assertive, Assertive or Aggressive person.

The Behavior Continuum table below comes from the Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola, Florida:


Overly courteous“Beats around the bush”Avoids Conflicts“Along for the ride.” Active InvolvementReadiness to take actionProvide useful informationMakes suggestions DominationIntimidationAbusive / Hostile

In their article “The Language of Assertiveness”, the University at Buffalo gives a concise list of phrases to use in beginning assertive statements you may need in conflict situations.