Assertive interactions and pro-social feedback
Assertiveness is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. In the 1970s and 1980s assertiveness training for women was seen as a very important way of giving women the power to survive and compete in a man’s world. Assertiveness is a form of behaviour; it is not a personality trait. Descriptions such as ‘so and so is an assertive person or an aggressive person’ are unhelpful because this implies that people only ever behave in one way and this cannot change. When animals are frightened or threatened they will fight or run away, or behave submissively in an attempt appease the aggressor. The consequences of assertive behaviour are that conflict is more likely to be dealt with quickly and effectively, people will feel listened to and respected, and will retain their dignity even in difficult situations.