aggressive


101 Words I Donít Use

by Paul Niquette

Copyright ©2012 Paul Niquette All rights reserved.

 

aggressive

behaving in an angry or rude way that shows you want to fight, attack, or argue with someone Ė distinguished from assertive, behaving in a confident way in which you are quick to express your opinions and feelings


We are talking here about manners and the management of relationship tension.

Dictionaries do include aggressive as an extreme synonym for assertive but, curiously, not vice versa (assertive as a mild synonym for aggressive).

At least one management seminar I have taken cautioned against aggressive behavior as counter-productive in collaborative endeavors and, I would add, unsophisticated.That is not to counsel against assertive behavior, which can be quite appropriate for expressing oneís views to fellow team members.Same for family members, donít you think?

What bothers me most is that assertive behavior seems to be utterly trumped by aggressive behavior in the vocabulary now used by news media.

Take a political debate, for example. One candidate is described as the winner by being aggressive while the other candidate is the loser for not being aggressive.I sense an improvement in both civility and objectivity by the mere substitution of assertive in place of aggressive.

 

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