Assertive vs. Aggressive

Recently one of you asked me what’s the difference between being aggressive and being assertive. Great question!

Actually, it’s really important to know the difference between these two, because otherwise you could, in an effort to avoid being an aggressive jerk, also avoid being as masculine as you’d need to be to attract women.

See, most guys err on the side of wussiness for fear that otherwise, they’ll come across as a d-bag. And some guys, in an effort to be manly and assertive, accidentally act like a d-bag. So knowing how to walk the line and be masculine and assertive, while still remaining a cool guy who doesn’t leave a bunch of pissed off people in his wake, is an essential skill for being the kind of man that attracts quality women.

So what’s the difference between assertive and aggressive?

The best way to explain this is through an example. Let’s say that you’re at a restaurant and you’ve been waiting for your dinner for over 30 minutes.

A man who’s a total wuss would be too afraid to say anything about it or would mention it very apologetically. He acts as if he’s afraid of how the waiter will react.

The assertive man calls the waiter over and says, in a calm voice, something like, “Hey, we’ve been waiting for 30 minutes. Can you please check on our dinners?” He’s taking charge of the situation and asking for what he wants. And he’s being cool about it.

The aggressive guy calls the waiter over and yells, “Hey, we’ve been waiting for fucking ever! What the hell is going on?” He thinks that in order to make things happen and get what he wants, he needs to treat other people like crap. This is a sign of underlying insecurity—the aggressiveness masks the fact that he, just like the wuss, is afraid of how the waiter will react. So he overcompensates by making a huge scene.

In other words, assertiveness is about asking for what you want and need without being a jerk. An assertive man is confident that he can take charge and get his message across clearly and effectively without creating drama or causing others pain.

So how do you assert yourself without being too aggressive?

  • Identify and ask for what you actually need or want in the situation (eg. Dinner to arrive in a timely manner).
  • Voice that clearly to someone who can do something about it (eg. Tell the waiter rather than just whining to your date about it).
  • Stay cool and maintain rapport with the person you are addressing. (eg. Waiters get overwhelmed on busy nights and kitchens make mistakes. Remember this as you assert yourself to get what you need). You can get your point across more effectively than if you were yelling.

When you demonstrate to a woman—or to anyone—that you are the kind of man who can get his needs met without needing to force or fight anyone to bend to your will, you will demonstrate that you have a level of masculinity that most men don’t. This will make you a lot more effective in making things happen in your life. Oh, and it will also make you way, way more attractive.

Your Inside Woman,


  1. Aggression has its place and is not always an indication of insecurity. Imagine a physical attack as one example.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes, and that is a whole other topic of masculinity. There are, however,
    very few situations in which a man (or woman) would need to use aggression
    instead of assertion.

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