Assertiveness 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 Behavior Continuum table below originally came from the Naval Aviation Schools Command in Pensacola, Florida:

Behavior Continuum


  • Overly courteous
  • “Beats around the bush”
  • Avoids Conflicts
  • “Along for the ride.”


  • Active Involvement
  • Readiness to take action
  • Provide useful information
  • Makes suggestions

Over Aggressiveness

  • Domination
  • Intimidation
  • Abusive
  • Hostile