Passive Aggressive vs. Assertive

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A passive-aggressive person uses indirect and sometimes covert methods to express displeasure, frustration, or anger. They often resort to sarcasm, put-downs, ignoring requests for help, and shunning other people’s attempts at communication.


An assertive person will stand up for themselves without being aggressive or confrontational. They will take charge of their own needs and be clear about what they want from others.

Assertiveness Passive Aggressive

The following is a list of definitions for assertiveness:

  • Passive aggressive: Someone who behaves in a passive-aggressive manner.
  • Assertive: Characterized by or displaying confidence and self-assertion.
  • Assertive communication: Communicating assertively.

Examples of Passive Communication

Passive communication is a communication style that involves not asking for something but instead waiting for it to happen.

Some examples of passive communication are:

  1. When you buy a product and don’t say anything about it.
  2. When you sit in silence and listen to someone else talk.
  3. When you wait for someone to make the first move, like when dating or talking to someone new.

Aggressive Communication Examples

Aggressive communication examples are when someone is being excessively rude or unreasonable in their communications.

Some aggressive communication examples are:

  1. Making statements that are untrue, offensive, or harmful to the other person’s well-being
  2. Verbal abuse
  3. Threats of violence
  4. Interrupting conversations

Assertiveness Aggressiveness and Passiveness

Assertiveness, aggressiveness, and passiveness are three terms that are commonly used in the workplace.

Assertiveness is the ability to communicate effectively with other people.

Aggressiveness is defined as an inappropriate way of communicating with others, while passiveness means not speaking up when you should.

All these terms can be confusing, but it’s essential to understand them to improve your interactions at work.

Passive-Aggressive vs Active Aggressive

Passive-aggressive behavior is when someone takes action to express their anger but does not act on it. They may resent the person they are angry with or may take out their offense on themselves.

Active-aggressive behavior is when someone expresses anger by taking direct action to harm another person or cause a problem for them.