What is an Assertive Personality

Article last updated on August 20, 2021

I like to think of myself as an assertive person, even though in some instances I don’t express this type of personality.

The pure meaning of assertive personality is that you are not afraid to speak your mind and stand up for what you believe in.

Are you busy or effective?
If your revenue is growing at a snail's pace it's time for a reality check.
Are you busy or effective?
If your revenue is growing at a snail's pace it's time for a reality check.

Sometimes it’s hard to be assertive when you’re a shy person or the type of person who doesn’t know how to express his/her feelings or thoughts.

In addition, there are times where we have no idea about the right thing to say or do because we lack confidence.

I’ll shed some light in this article on what an assertive personality is and why it’s important.

Just remember, assertiveness means having self-confidence and speaking out without fear of rejection.

Being assertive means not winging it.

It can mean standing up for yourself and expressing your opinion.

You may feel nervous talking to others but if you practice saying things confidently then people will respect you more.

As long as you keep practicing being confident with yourself, you’ll get better at asserting yourself and be happier with yourself!

Assertive behavior

As mentioned above, assertive behavior at its core is simply communicating effectively, standing for what we believe and take action in order to convey our ideas and opinions.

Assertive behaviors include:

  • Expressing one’s own needs clearly
  • Being able to listen carefully to other people
  • Telling someone something they didn’t want to hear
  • Standing up for oneself
  • Taking responsibility for mistakes
  • Respecting another person’s point of view
  • Communicating honestly
  • Having empathy for others
  • Giving feedback constructively
  • Making decisions based on facts rather than emotions
  • Not taking anything personally

To expand a little bit on this, when we talk about assertive behaviors there are top 11 behaviors that you can posses or work on:

  1. Assertiveness vs Aggression: Assertiveness isn’t aggression; they both come from different perspectives. However, one should never use aggressive behavior towards someone else just because he/she has expressed their opinions. If you want to disagree with them, you must first listen to their point of view and understand their perspective. Then only you can decide whether you agree or disagree with them.
  2. Be Confident: Confidence comes naturally once you’ve practiced enough. The best part is that you won’t need any external factors such as friends, family members, teachers etc. to boost your confidence level. All you need is time and patience.
  3. Speak Up: Speak up whenever you see something wrong or unfair happening around you. Don’t let anyone bully you into silence. Stand up for yourself by telling other people what you think.
  4. Express Yourself: Expressing yourself is very important especially during difficult situations. When you’re angry, frustrated or sad, you shouldn’t hold back your emotions. Instead, tell those close to you exactly how you feel.
  5. Practice Makes Perfect: Practice makes perfect. So make sure you put effort into improving your skills. As mentioned earlier, confidence comes naturally after lots of practice.
  6. Have Patience: Patience is another key factor in becoming assertive. Sometimes, you might find yourself getting upset over small issues which could easily be resolved later. Just take deep breaths and wait patiently until everything settles down again.
  7. Learn From Mistakes: Mistakes happen everywhere. No matter how much experience you gain, mistakes still occur. This is normal. Learning from these mistakes helps us improve ourselves.
  8. Take Responsibility: Taking responsibility is essential in life. We learn from our own mistakes and failures. By taking full responsibility for our actions, we become stronger individuals.
  9. Never Give In To Fear Of Rejection: Fear of rejection is an obstacle many people face when trying to speak up. But don’t worry about it. People who are afraid of rejection usually have low self esteem. They tend to avoid confrontation and shy away from making decisions.
  10. Keep Your Cool: When dealing with stressful situations, always remain calm. Try not to lose control. You may end up saying things you regret later on.
  11. Respect Others’ Opinions: Respecting others’ opinions means listening carefully to what they say without interrupting them. It also involves respecting their right to express themselves freely.

Assertive Personalities and Characteristics

When we take a look at assertive personalities, you’ll find that there are different personalities and you would not be 100% one of them, but a combination of multiple assertive personalities.

I could list even more assertive personalities, but here are most common ones:

  1. The Confident Person – This kind of person has strong beliefs and opinions which he/she expresses clearly. He/She does not hesitate to voice them out loud. They are comfortable sharing their ideas and they won’t back down from any challenge.
  2. The Persistent Person – If someone tries to discourage him/her, he/she would just ignore such comments and continue doing whatever he/she wants. Such persons always try to achieve something despite all odds.
  3. The Independent Person – She/He knows her/his own strengths and weaknesses well enough so she/he wouldn’t need anyone else’s help. Even if other people give advice, she/he still makes decisions by herself.
  4. The Open Minded Person – He/She listens carefully before making judgments. He/She accepts new information and changes easily.
  5. The Emotional Support Person – He/She cares deeply about those around him/her. He/She feels responsible towards everyone, especially family members.
  6. The Optimistic Person – He/She sees good possibilities in everything. He/She looks forward to future events instead of dwelling over past mistakes.
  7. The Passionate Person – He/She loves life passionately and enjoys every moment. He/She takes interest in many different activities.
  8. The Creative Person – He/She likes to create things and make things happen. He/She finds pleasure in solving problems and finding solutions.
  9. The Organized Person – He/She keeps track of time and schedules accordingly. He/She plans ahead and prepares thoroughly.
  10. The Hardworking Person – He/She works diligently and puts forth maximum effort. He/She doesn’t procrastinate and gets things done quickly.
  11. The Responsible Person – He/She follows rules and regulations set by authority figures. He/She respects elders and obeys laws.
  12. The Energetic Person – He/She moves fast and acts spontaneously. He/She is full of energy and enthusiasm.
  13. The Enthusiastic Person – He/She shows excitement when faced with challenges. He/She is enthusiastic about learning new things.
  14. The Ambitious Person – He/She strives hard to reach goals that seem impossible. He/She sets high standards for self improvement.
  15. The Determined Person – He/She refuses to accept defeat or failure. He/She continues trying until success comes knocking on the door.
  16. The Patient Person – He/She patiently waits for results even though it seems like nothing happens. He/She has a positive attitude and remains optimistic throughout difficult times.
  17. The Generous Person – He/She gives generously and freely. He/She shares his/her possessions with others.
  18. The Intelligent Person – He/She uses logic and reason to solve problems. He/She can think through situations logically and analytically.
  19. The Honest Person – He/She tells the truth regardless of consequences. He/She does not lie or cheat.
  20. The Trustworthy Person – He/She always keeps promises made to other people. He/She believes in honesty and integrity.
  21. The Lively Person – He/She laughs easily and often. He/She enjoys life and takes pleasure in simple pleasures.
  22. The Creative Person – He/She creates something out of nothing. He/She finds ways to make money using creativity.
  23. The Hardworking Person – He/She works long hours every day. He/She stays late into the night working on projects.
  24. The Ambitious Person – He/She strives to be successful. He/She sets goals that seem impossible but eventually become possible.
  25. The Attentive Person – He/She pays attention to details. He/She notices little things that most people overlook.
  26. The Brave Person – He/She faces challenges ead on without fear. He/She doesn’t back down from a fight.
  27. The Loyal Friend – He/She sticks by you during tough times. He/She will do anything to protect your interests.

Characteristics of Assertive Person

As you can see there are different assertive personalities and it can vary from one individual to another.

However, they possess certain characteristics which make them unique. Some of them include:

  1. Self Confidence – Assertive persons usually have high levels of self-esteem which makes them comfortable enough to talk their minds. They tend to take charge of situations rather than letting other people control them. This gives them the courage to make decisions and act accordingly.
  2. Openness – Being open minded is another characteristic of assertive personalities. These individuals are willing to listen to different opinions from both sides before making any decision. They understand that everyone has something valuable to contribute. Therefore they try to avoid judging anyone based on appearance alone. Instead, they look deeper into someone’s character.
  3. Empathy – Another trait of assertive personalities is empathy. They care deeply about those around them and want to help whenever possible. They realize that every individual deserves equal treatment regardless of race, religion, gender, etc. As such, these types of people always put themselves in other people’s shoes so that they could relate to them better.
  4. Honesty – An assertive personality knows that honesty is one of the most powerful tools available to us. He/she believes that telling the truth is never wrong. If he/she feels uncomfortable sharing certain information, s/he would prefer to remain silent instead of lying. However, sometimes lies are necessary especially when dealing with sensitive issues. For example, an assertive person might lie to protect someone else’s reputation even though she/he does not agree with the behavior.
  5. Persistence – A persistent personality tends to stick to her/his beliefs despite opposition. She/He understands that change takes time and effort. She/he tries to stay positive by focusing on solutions rather than problems. Thus, she/he keeps trying until success comes knocking.
  6. Optimism – The optimistic personality sees life as a series of challenges and opportunities. Rather than dwelling on negative feelings, this type of person focuses on finding ways to improve his/her situation. In addition, s/he looks forward to new adventures because there’s no place like home.
  7. Responsibility – An assertive personality realizes that taking responsibility is essential to living successfully. Even if others do things for him/her, she/he still needs to be responsible for his/her actions. It doesn’t matter how much support he/she receives; s/he will continue doing what s/he thinks is right.
  8. Independence – Finally, an independent personality recognizes that it is important to stand up for herself/himself. She/he refuses to let others dictate who she/he should become. She/he also values personal freedom over anything else.

When you combine your top 3 assertive personalities and your top 2 characteristics, you’ll have a lot more insight into your core assertive personality.

If it’s easier for you, here’s a shorter list.

You can choose the ones the best fits you and then hone on your strengths to fully embrace you assertive personality.

Just pick top two:

  • Know What Respect Is
  • Empathy
  • Accept Responsibility
  • Relate With Others
  • Speaking Up For Yourself
  • Compromise
  • Sincerity
  • Flexibility
  • Confidence
  • Negotiation skills
  • Value, Accept and Understand Themselves
  • Emotional Independence
  • Empathic Understanding
  • Ability to Communicate
  • Self-Control
  • Draw Boundaries and Limits

Questions About Assertiveness

What does being assertive mean?

Meaning of being assertive is different according to context.

In general terms, being assertive means taking control over one’s life and acting accordingly.

Being assertive also involves having confidence in oneself and knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses.

Assertiveness comes naturally to those who have learned to manage emotions effectively.

Assertiveness isn’t just about speaking up; it’s about standing firm against unfair treatment.

It requires courage and strength. When someone tries to bully us, we can either stand up for ourselves or let the situation get out of hand.

But there will come a point where we need to speak up and say no! This is called asserting ourselves. 

When to be assertive?

There are situations where it is important to be assertive.

For example, when dealing with people who abuse power, manipulators, etc., it is essential to know when to act assertively.

Also, when communicating with clients, customers, employees, partners, etc., it is necessary to show some level of assertiveness.

Finally, when negotiating contracts, agreements, deals, etc., it is vital to be assertive.

How to be assertive and not aggressive?

It is a common misconception that being assertive means being an aggressive person.

Being assertive does not mean bullying other people nor does it mean hurting their feelings.

Assertiveness simply refers to the ability to stand up for oneself while maintaining good relationships with others.

In contrast, aggression implies attacking someone’s character rather than addressing his/her concerns.

How to be assertive and set boundaries?

When you are assertive , you do so because you want to protect yourself against unwanted behavior.

However, if you try too hard to defend yourself, this can come across as rude and arrogant.

Therefore, setting clear boundaries will help you maintain healthy relationships.

Here are some tips on how to set appropriate limits:

  1. Be clear about what you want: Before starting anything, ask yourself whether you really want to go ahead with it. If yes, then proceed; otherwise, stop immediately. Don’t let anyone pressure or force you into doing something you aren’t comfortable with.
  2. Set realistic expectations: If you expect more out of a relationship than what was agreed upon, you’ll only get disappointed. Make sure you understand each other before entering any new agreement.
  3. Listen carefully: Listening attentively shows respect towards both parties involved. When one party feels heard, he tends to feel valued. On the contrary, ignoring another person makes him feel unimportant.
  4. Ask for clarification before making decisions: Asking questions gives everyone time to think through their options. Also, asking clarifies your doubts and allows you to make better choices.
  5. Avoid arguing with someone who is angry or upset: Arguments rarely solve problems. Instead, they create even bigger ones. So, instead of arguing, take deep breaths and find ways to resolve conflicts together.
  6. Stay calm and maintain good relationships: Being angry doesn’t necessarily imply having bad intentions. Anger often stems from hurtful words said by someone else. Rather than getting upset, focus on finding solutions to the problem at hand. This way, you won’t risk losing friendships over petty issues.

Is it good to be assertive?

From my experience and my opinion it is absolutely yes!

I have been in situations where I had no choice but to speak up when I felt like I couldn’t handle anymore.

The result has always been positive. People who know me well would tell you that I am very direct and honest.

How to become assertive?

There are already a ton of articles and videos on how to become assertive, but I want to share my perspective and address some of the most common “how to” situations.

First, you need to know that becoming an assertive person is a learned skill.

However, there are certain things we all tend to do naturally without realizing it. These include:

  • Being polite.
  • Telling people what they want to hear.
  • Giving compliments.
  • Not saying what needs to be said.

The first step to learning how to be assertive individuals is to identify these behaviors and consciously decide not to engage them.

Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to start practicing being assertive.

The best place to begin this process is by identifying your own style of assertiveness.

There are three main styles of assertiveness: passive, aggressive and neutral.

Passive communication style means avoiding conflict altogether.

Aggressive implies using verbal aggression.

Neutral refers to speaking calmly while maintaining control.

Once you know your assertive personality traits, characteristics and your style you can then notice what you lack to become more assertive.

One thing that will block you towards your growth to becoming more assertive is fear.

Fear prevents us from taking action because we don’t believe we’ll succeed or fail.

It’s important for you to realize that failure isn’t something to avoid; rather, it’s just part of life.

You may also face resistance from others if you try to change yourself.

To eliminate this, my recommendation is to work on your internal self awareness because once you understand why you behave as you do, you can become more assertive.

So, first decide that you want to become more assertive, pick your assertive personality traits, characteristics and your style, notice the fear when you should embrace your assertiveness and constantly be self aware when fear starts to creep in. 

How to be assertive in business?

To be assertive in business , one must learn to communicate effectively with other people.

It’s about knowing how to listen, ask questions, give feedback and make decisions.

Effective communication skills are essential to any professional career.

They help build relationships, improve performance and increase productivity.

Naturally, you might be asking now how to be assertive with customers? Well, let me answer that question right away.

You have two options here: either you choose to ignore their complaints or you take responsibility for solving problems.

If you choose option number 1, you won’t get anywhere. Customers expect you to solve their issues immediately.

So, if you don’t respond quickly enough, they will leave negative reviews online which could damage your reputation.

If you opt for option 2, you will gain respect and trust from your clients.

This way, you will earn a good reputation among your peers and potential future employers.

How to be assertive in difficult situations?

Difficult situations happen every day. Some might even say that they have never experienced anything other than difficult situations.

But, here comes the good news… Difficult situations aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, they often provide opportunities to grow.

In order to deal with difficult situations successfully, you need to develop several key communication styles and skills such as listening, asking questions, giving feedback and making decisions.

You can use these skills to get out of tough situations and move forward positively.

Here are some tips to help you overcome difficult situations:

  • Listen actively – When someone shares their thoughts and feelings with you, pay attention to everything he/she says. This way, you won’t miss valuable information.
  • Ask open ended questions – Questions allow you to gather additional details and gain new insights into the situation. For example, “What happened?” instead of “Why did you …”
  • Give positive feedback – Positive feedback helps a person feel valued and appreciated. Instead of saying “I’m sorry”, tell him/her “You’re doing great!”
  • Make decisions – Decisions require careful consideration and analysis before being made. If possible, take time to think through all options carefully before choosing an option.
  • Be flexible – Flexibility allows you to adapt to changing circumstances without losing focus.

How to be assertive in relationships?

Relationships are important because we spend most of our lives interacting with others.

We interact with friends, family members, colleagues, bosses, subordinates… The list goes on forever.

Relationships play a crucial role in our personal development.

So, what is it like when you want to be assertive in a relationship but find yourself struggling?

Here’s my advice: firstly, try not to react emotionally and if you need to forgive yourself first.

Secondly, avoid blaming others.

Thirdly, remember that everyone has his/her own opinion.

And finally, make sure that you communicate clearly about your expectations.

Let me give you another tip: whenever you encounter a conflict between people who love each other, ask them how they would resolve this issue themselves.

Then, follow their suggestions. It may sound simple, but I’ve seen many couples learn to compromise by following this approach.

How to be assertively polite?

Being polite means showing courtesy towards others while maintaining dignity and self-respect.

Polite behavior includes treating others respectfully, respecting privacy, keeping promises, expressing gratitude for favors received, offering assistance when needed, etc.

Being polite doesn’t mean always agreeing or complying with requests from others.

Sometimes, it makes more sense to politely decline certain offers.

However, if you do agree to something, then please don’t forget to thank the person afterwards.

That is being an assertively polite person. 


In summary, being assertive means making decisions based on facts rather than feelings.

It means learning to express opinions without hurting anyone else.

It means setting boundaries and sticking to them.

Lastly, it means being confident enough to take charge of one’s life.

So, next time you feel like giving up because things aren’t going well, think again.

Remember that every problem has an answer.

If you first believe in yourself, anything is possible. Good luck!

Marko Matijasevic

Marko is performance-based growth strategist, focusing on business growth while maintaining a strong emphasis on authenticity in every individual he works with.