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Assertiveness: Changing Aggressive Responses

If you’re an aggressive person, it might be hard for you to make room for the needs of others in your interpersonal relationships. While it’s good to know what you need and feel comfortable asking for it, it’s also important to acknowledge and meet the needs of those you are in relationship with. Practice these two tips to move from aggressive to assertive in your interpersonal interactions: 

  • Take genuine interest: While it can be easy to fall into the trap of prioritizing your own responses in conversation, see if you can step back and genuinely listen to what another person is saying. Take time to hear them before formulating your response. 

  • Validate: Difficult interactions are much more effective when all parties feel heard. Before responding with your next thought, take a moment to explain to the other person that you understand how they’re feeling. This little action goes a long way!

Being assertive is an effective way to get your needs met while also maintaining your relationship. Try these tips to see for yourself!


Bethany Kriegel, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. She has experience working with adults in residential treatment settings, helping those struggling with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other issues.

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