Are you assertive? Passive? Aggressive?

Decide for yourself...

How would you answer the questions below? Yes? No? Somewhat? Not sure?

1. I would hesitate to write a complaining letter to a business or company.

2. At times I want to say things but I don't.

3. I hesitate to take things back to the store.

4. I get convinced to do things that I don't want to do.

5. I would find it hard to tell someone near me to stop smoking.

6. It is difficult for me to ask my friends for help.

7. I spend a lot of time avoiding conflicts.

8. I find it difficult to openly express love and affection.

9. I find it hard to tell people no.

10. I frequently have opinions I don't express.

11. I find it hard to disagree with people close to me.

12. I hesitate to speak up in a group discussion or argument.

13. When I plan to be busy, people can keep me from doing things.

14. I usually would rather go along with someone I don't really know rather than to have a disagreement or argument.

15. I usually have to get angry before I say what I want to say.

16. I have a lot of concern about expressing myself and hurting someone's feelings.

17. I have been taught it is not right to raise your voice or risk hurting someone's feelings.

18. I consider it wise to avoid arguments.

19. I believe that people should keep their angry feelings to themselves.

20. Being liked is very important to me.


1. When you feel a person is being highly unfair to you, do you call it to his or her attention?

2. Do you find it difficult to make decisions?

3. Can you be openly critical of others' ideas, opinions, behavior?

4. Do you speak out in protest when someone takes your place in line?

5. Do you often avoid people or situations for fear of embarrassment?

6. Do you usually have confidence in your own judgment?

7. Do you insist that your spouse or roommate take on a fair share of household chores?

8. Are you prone to "fly off the handle?"

9. When a salesperson makes an effort to sell you something, do you find it hard to say "no" without providing a "good" reason, even though the merchandise is not really what you want?

10. When a latecomer is waited on before you are, do you call attention to the situation?

11. Are you reluctant to speak up in a discussion or debate?

12. If a person has borrowed money (or a book, garment, etc.) and is overdue in returning it, do you mention it?

13. Do you continue to pursue an argument after the other person has had enough?

14. Do you generally express what you feel?

15. Are you disturbed if someone watches you work?

16. If someone is talking and being distracting in a movie or a lecture, do you ask the person to


17. Do you find it difficult to keep eye contact when talking to another person?

18. In a good restaurant, when your meal is improperly prepared or served, do you ask the waiter/waitress to correct the situation?

19. When you discover merchandise is faulty, do you return it for an adjustment?

20. Do you show anger by name-calling or obscenities?

21. Do you try to be a wallflower or a piece of furniture in social situations?

22. Do you insist that your landlord (mechanic, repariman, etc.) make repairs, adjustments or replacements which are his responsibility?

23. Do you often step in and make decisions for others?

24. Are you able to openly express love and affection?

25. Are you able to ask your friends for small favors or help?

26. When you differ with a person you respect, are you able to speak up for your own viewpoint?

27. Are you able to refuse requests made by a friend if you do not wish to do what the person is


28. Do you have difficulty complimenting or praising others?

29. Do you shout or use bullying tactics to get others to do as you want?

30. Do you finish other people's sentences for them?

31. When you meet a stranger, are you the first to introduce yourself and begin a conversation?

32. Do you say "I'm sorry" a good deal of the time when you do not really mean it?

33. Can you tell things about yourself that you like in front of others?

34. If a person is criticizing you unjustly, can you defend yourself verbally without shouting, cursing, hitting, or walking away angry and upset?


I have the absolute right:

* as an adult, to be responsible for my own life

* to accept and respect myself and others

* to feel happy, satisfied, and to allow inner peace

* to take good care of my whole being: my mind, my body, and my spirit

* to be imperfect

* to be aware of and fulfill my own needs

* to have dreams, goals, and ideals -- and to make them happen

* to have and express all my emotions... in an appropriate context

* to tell others how I want to be treated

* to allow people to help me without feeling guilty, unworthy, or dependent

* to set my own priorities about my use of time, money, space, and energy

* to get what I pay for

* to have healthy, life-enhancing relationships, where clear communication is valued -- to make conscious decisions to change relationships.

* to change, emerge, expand in new directions

* to have my own beliefs, ideas, values without apology to anyone

* to live in the present moment, free of guilt from the past and worry for the future

* to relax, to let go, to "do" nothing

NOTE: You also have a right to make an exception in these cases, if it is what you really want to do. You may feel that explaining why you did something is simply polite, or that a customer might not return if you do not.

You may decide that being liked by a certain person is more important, and that avoiding disagreement is O.K. this time, while not having the same view toward everybody in the world, or that person every time.


(From the book: When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, by Manuel Smith.)

I. You have the absolute right to judge your own behavior, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.

II. You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behavior.

III. You have the right to judge whether you are responsible for finding solutions to other people's problems.

IV. You have the right to change your mind.

V. You have the right to make mistakes-- and be responsible for them.

VI. You have the right to say, "I don't know."

VII. You have the right to be independent of the goodwill of others, before coping with them.

VIII. You have the right to be illogical in making decisions.

IX. You have the right to say, "I don't understand."

X. You have the right to say, "I don't care."

(Read the NOTE just above this, if you have not already.)


Suggestions that may help you assert your rights to wellness:

1. Ask your doctor to explain fully your condition and what exactly is going on in your body. Ask for illustrations if necessary.

2. Ask if there are ways, other than drugs or surgery, to deal with your problem.

3. Ask about possible side-effects of drugs prescribed.

4. Ask for a second, or third opinion. Or investigate alternatives for yourself.

5. Ask for a "generic" drug presriciption which is usually less expensive that a brand name.

6. Ask for a full description of a procedure suggested before it is used.

7. Ask for a lead shield to cover other parts of your body when X-rays are used.

8. State your displeasure and inconvenience at being made to wait.

9. Ask for anything which will provide you with greater privacy or comfort.

10. Ask for a fee-schedule before you make an appointment.

11. Ask about your doctor's previous experience in dealing with a condition similar to your own.

12. Refuse treatment if your questions are not answered adequately.

13. Tell your doctor what you think is wrong or right with you.


I would like to borrow five dollars.

Would you help me clean the garage today?

I would like to be alone today.

I would like to have sex with you.

I would like to borrow $100.00

Will you hold me? I'm feeling scared.

Will you sleep close to me tonight?

I would like to sleep alone tonight.

I would like to go out with you on Friday.

I would like to talk quietly.

Will you kiss me?

I would like to know why you angry with me.

Will you take care of the kids today?

How are you feeling today?

I would like to read the paper; can we talk later?

I would like to take a Time-Out.


Rate your degree of comfort or discomfort in making a request of any of the below people:



Spouse or boy/girl friend


Minister or Rabbi or Imam

Male friend

Female friend




police officer



store salesperson

phone survey

work colleague


mother in law

father in law

brother or sister in law






work supervisor

door to door salesperson

your employee

ASSERTIVE TEST -- (True or False?)

1. Assertive training teaches new values.

2. Friends have a responsibility to know what you think. (Or, you have a responsibility to know what they think, especially if they say so.)

3. It is best to express feelings all the time.

4. You are responsible for your own defense, unless with friends.

5. Passive, and aggressive people end up in a similar position.

6. Only passive people feel anxiety in social situations.

7. Two very assertive people will generally have a difficult time communicating.

8. You can learn to recognize your own anxiety only by using mechanical devices.

9. You can be tensed, and still be relaxed.

10. Your day dreams don't effect your own body.

11. Open ended questions can be answered with a one word answer.

12. Free information is illegal in your state.

13. You must tell someone about yourself if your expect them to tell you about themselves.

14. Little or no skill is required to tell a good story about yourself.

15. Many people refuse compliments.

16. You must look a man in the eyes when talking to him in order to keep his attention.

17. You should touch people freely when you speak to them.

18. You should always feel guilty when you make a mistake.

19. If accused of something, you should point out your accuser's faults.

20. You should always respond to criticism or nagging.

Incidentally, the picture below may show aggression more than assertion. There IS a difference.