7 Traits Of Assertive People That Help Them Get Anything They Want

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woman with assertive personality

By Mitzi Bockmann

When we're making changes, we have a desire to do things differently, to work to change our behavior and also change the outcomes. Moreover, we need to learn what to do in order to get what we want.

To get what we want out of life, it's essential to be assertive. And while many people may misconstrue assertiveness for arrogance or aggression, people who stand up for themselves tend to get through life much easier.

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What does it mean to have an assertive personality?

If someone says you have an assertive personality, all they are saying is that you have characteristics that make you less submissive. This means you have core traits of being self-assured, confident, and are able to express your thoughts, feelings, and needs in a clear and direct manner, while respecting the rights and boundaries of others.

An assertive person is able to communicate effectively, stand up for themselves, and express their opinions without being aggressive or overly submissive. Assertive behavior involves expressing thoughts, feelings and needs in a direct yet respectful manner while considering the feelings of others.

Passive behavior, on the other hand, means avoiding conflict and suppressing one's own needs and opinions to prioritize others'; aggressive behavior entails forceful and hostile expression of one's desires, often at the expense of others’ feelings.

A lot of my clients have expressed the need to speak up for themselves more, to ask for what they want, and not let others lead the way. But many of them don’t know if they have it in them to do so.

With that in mind, this list includes traits of assertive people who get what they want every time they go for it.

7 Traits Of People With an Assertive Personality

1. Assertive people are self-aware.

A key part of getting what you want is knowing it. How can you speak up for yourself if you aren’t clear on what it is that you need at the moment?

Imagine yourself at Starbucks. You know you want that iced caramel macchiato, but then you get a hot one. Do you suck it up and take the drink because you don’t want to be a bother, or do you speak up because you really want it iced? I am guessing you will speak up because you know exactly what coffee drink you like and it’s important to your day that you have it.

It’s the same in life and in relationships, especially. If you know that you are unhappy about something, ask yourself why you are unhappy. If you were in charge of the world, what would you do to change that thing, so that you could be happy? Once you know what that thing would be then you can ask for it clearly.

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2. Assertive people are confident.

An important part of being the type of person who gets what they want is having the self-confidence to believe that you are worthy of what you want.

For many of us, we don’t believe that we are worthy. We are hesitant to ask for what we want because we believe that we should settle for what we get because we don’t deserve more.

Imagine that you know what you want and you have defined it precisely. And then picture yourself asking for it. How does that feel in your body? Does it feel good or do you have a big pit in your stomach?

Ask yourself what that pit means. Does it mean that you feel like you don’t deserve what you want? Does the idea of asking for it fill you with dread? A key part of being assertive is believing that we are worthy of asking for what we want and, most importantly, deserve to be happy.

3. Assertive people are honest.

The type of person who gets what they want and is assertive is someone who is honest. Going back to the coffee analogy, if you don’t speak up for the drink you want, you aren’t being honest with your barista or yourself.

Think about when you want your husband to stay home and he wants to go out and you don’t speak up about it. How do you feel then? Do you stay home, stewing, angry at yourself for not speaking your truth and angry at him for not recognizing (without being told) what you want?

It's important that, if you want to be assertive, you need to be honest with whoever you are dealing with. People can’t read minds, and if you expect something from them you have to be transparent about it.

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4. Assertive people have a certain level of openness.

Assertive people are open to listening to what other people want. If your husband wants to go out and you don’t want him to, be open to him about it. Sit and have a proper conversation, instead of behaving in a passive-aggressive manner.

Tell him that you would prefer he stays at home but ask him why it’s so important to go out. He could very well have a good reason, a reason that you can accept and be okay with, and then you can spend the night not stewing about why he left.

If you aren’t willing to listen and you behave as if it’s your way or the highway, being assertive will get you nowhere. Furthermore, it will end up offending people.

There are two people in every relationship and conversation, and both of them have needs that need to be met. Compromise is, of course, an option but you can’t compromise without information.

5. Assertive people can effectively set boundaries.

Assertive individuals clearly and directly communicate their boundaries to others. They express their needs, limits, and expectations in a straightforward manner without being vague or overly accommodating.

They use "I" statements to express how a certain behavior or situation affects them personally. For example: Instead of saying, "You always interrupt me," an assertive person might say, "I feel frustrated when I'm interrupted. I would appreciate it if you could let me finish speaking before sharing your thoughts."

People with assertive personalities consistently uphold their boundaries. They don't waver or compromise on their established limits unless there's a genuine reason to do so. They understand the importance of maintaining consistency to reinforce their boundaries and gain the respect of others.

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6. Assertive people are resilient.

Assertive people often exhibit resilience and handle challenging situations with composure. They are not easily discouraged or disheartened by others' reactions or criticism when setting boundaries. Their resilience helps them maintain their self-confidence and continue asserting their needs, even in the face of resistance or pushback.

Their resilience allows them to bounce back from setbacks, challenges, and conflict, all while staying strong. They recover quickly from difficult situations, learn from their experiences, and adapt their approach to assert their boundaries.

Their resilience helps them stay focused, determined, and confident in the face of resistance, ultimately allowing them to establish and maintain their boundaries with strength and perseverance.

7. Assertive people don't lack composure.

A really big part of being assertive is having the ability to ask for what you want, calmly and clearly.

It is important that, when we are being assertive, we pause and take a deep breath before we speak, that we think about what we want to say, and say it in a way that the words will land on the other person. If we do so, we can get what we want.

You are probably thinking about that person you know who always yells and gets what they want. Do you like that person? Does anyone like that person? Most likely not. Their loud words get them what they want, but they offend people every time.

People who meekly go about their day, taking what others give them without a peep and killing their self-confidence in the process, are people who will ultimately find themselves living a life that doesn’t make them happy. People who know what they want, on the other hand, and who can self-confidently express with honesty and clarity, are people who are happy with what they have.

Imagine feeling that way. You can do it! Work to cultivate these assertive personality traits and you can successfully live the life you have always wanted.

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

This article was originally published at The Mind's Journal. Reprinted with permission from the author.