All of us use aggressive, assertive, or passive communication at one time or another. Being assertive is a respectful way of communicating. It is characterized by using “I” statements, instead of “You” statements. Assertiveness means taking responsibility for your own feelings, and not blaming others.
Imagine a scenario where you’d like to have the person you’re meeting to arrive on time. They have a history of being late.
An aggressive communicator might say, “You’d better be on time, or I’ll just leave. I’m sick of waiting around for you.”
A passive communicator may not say anything, but may be seething inside, waiting for this person.
An assertive communicator would say, “I’ve noticed you’ve been late a few times in the past. I would like to request that you arrive promptly at 9:00. I only have an hour to spend on our meeting.”
Practicing assertiveness is respecting yourself and the other person. You are expressing what you need and want, in a respectful way. For some people, it comes naturally. For others, it may take some practice. But practice makes perfect. And before you know it, it will come naturally to you.