The difference is very subtle.
I'm shy and I try to be less shy. Sometimes when I try to be assertive I think I might come across as slightly commanding.
When is a person a good leader, without coming across as controlling/bossy?
Do you have any examples? :)
Most Helpful Girl
Assertive: You can state your objectives or expectations and a pretty good idea of how to get to them. Good reasoning that appeals to the majority of peoples. You keep your head when confronted and are able to, for the most part, talk things out or compromise if need be.
Aggressive: You have goals and expectations you want to reach and you force other people to abide by your rules or reasonings, sometimes without being able to explain why. You're not that interested in making sure people are even interested in your goals, but you're gonna make them do what you want regardless of their own feelings and ideas.
I think the keyword that differentiates the two is "force" and how unwelcome that force is. Assertive people don't really need to force things, whereas aggressive people cross the line, and there's usually lots of unwanted forcing going on.5
Most Helpful Guy
Assertive is standing your ground, aggressive is being invasive.
Socially the best way to explain these differences would probably be conversation in which two parties disagree.
Assertive: Will disagree, may state the reason as to why they disagree, may even accept that they are wrong if they are wrong and learn from the experience. When pushed and they know that they are right, they will not back down and will do their best to educate the other.
Aggressive: Will always dominate the conversation, will always be "right". Gets very defensive when made to be wrong; very hostile. Not prone to learning from teaching situations.2