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Inspiration Decks Character Traits 2023-12-02 00:00

Character Trait: Assertive

Character Trait Assertive

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. Assertive is a personality trait that refers to a person's ability to confidently and decisively express their thoughts, feelings, and opinions. An assertive person knows how to communicate their needs and boundaries without being aggressive or passive. They are self-assured and not afraid to speak up or take action when necessary. Being assertive is an important trait for characters in fiction because it can help them navigate conflicts, negotiate with others, and achieve their goals.

Contents:
  1. Possible causes of being assertive
  2. Behaviors associated with being assertive
  3. Attitudes associated with being assertive
  4. Thoughts and struggles associated with being assertive
  5. Emotions associated with being assertive
  6. Facial expressions associated with being assertive
  7. Body language associated with being assertive
  8. Behaviors associated with being assertive
  9. Growth and evolution of assertive characters
  10. Stereotypes of assertive characters to avoid
  11. Negatives of being assertive
  12. Positives of being assertive
  13. Verbal expressions of assertive characters
  14. Relationships of assertive characters
  15. Examples from books of characters who are assertive
  16. Writing exercises for writing assertive characters

Possible causes of being assertive

You might want to weave these into your character's back story to build a more believable character.

  • Natural temperament: Some people may have a natural inclination towards assertiveness based on their genes, upbringing, or personality traits.
  • Learned behavior: Others may have developed assertiveness as a coping mechanism or learned behavior from their environment or past experiences.
  • Self-confidence: Assertiveness often stems from a sense of self-assurance and confidence in one's own abilities and opinions.
  • Cultural factors: Cultures that value assertiveness and individuality may encourage people to develop an assertive nature.
  • Values and beliefs: People who value assertiveness and direct communication may develop a more assertive personality.

For detailed feedback on assertive characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's narrative evaluation tool.

Behaviors associated with being assertive

You may be able to show your character's trait of assertive by using these.

  • Standing up for what one believes in
  • Speaking up for oneself without being aggressive
  • Taking initiative and making decisions
  • Respecting oneself and others equally
  • Refusing to be manipulated or controlled by others
  • Setting clear boundaries and limits
  • Being direct and honest in communication
  • Expressing opinions and feelings confidently
  • Asking for what one wants and needs

Attitudes associated with being assertive

You may be able to show assertive through their attitudes.

  • Confidence
  • Self-assurance
  • Courage
  • Clarity
  • Integrity
  • Leadership
  • Directness
  • Decisiveness
  • Self-respect

Thoughts and struggles associated with being assertive

Here are some ideas for things your assertive character may think or struggle with.

  • At the same time, an assertive character may feel frustrated when others don't take them seriously or fail to recognize their abilities and leadership potential.
  • An assertive character may also be prone to anger or impatience when others don't meet their expectations or fail to follow through on their commitments.
  • They may also worry about being seen as bossy or controlling, and may feel guilty for wanting to take control of situations.
  • An assertive character may struggle with balancing their desire to take charge with the need to listen to others.
  • They may worry that their assertiveness comes across as aggressive or domineering, and may struggle to find a way to assert themselves without alienating those around them.
  • They may struggle with feeling like they have to prove themselves to others, and may feel like they are constantly fighting an uphill battle to be taken seriously.

Emotions associated with being assertive

Here are some ideas for emotions your assertive character may experience.

  • Confidence
  • Self-assuredness
  • Decisiveness
  • Empowerment
  • Boldness
  • Determination
  • Fearlessness
  • Conviction
  • Willfulness

Facial expressions associated with being assertive

Here are some facial expressions your assertive character may exhibit.

  • Raised eyebrows
  • Forward lean
  • Furrowed brow
  • Firm jawline
  • Nostrils flared
  • Tightened lips
  • Steady eye contact
  • Chin up
  • Minimal smile

Body language associated with being assertive

Here is some body language your assertive character may exhibit.

  • Using a calm and measured tone of voice
  • Speaking clearly and firmly
  • Using hand gestures to emphasize points
  • Facing the person directly when speaking to them
  • Avoiding fidgeting or nervous tics
  • Using confident and direct language
  • Maintaining eye contact
  • Standing or sitting up straight
  • Taking up space with confident body posture

For detailed feedback on assertive characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's narrative evaluation tool.

Behaviors associated with being assertive

Here are some behaviors your assertive character may exhibit.

  • Being direct and honest in communication
  • Standing up for what one believes in
  • Respecting oneself and others equally
  • Speaking up for oneself without being aggressive
  • Setting clear boundaries and limits
  • Asking for what one wants and needs
  • Taking initiative and making decisions
  • Expressing opinions and feelings confidently
  • Refusing to be manipulated or controlled by others

Growth and evolution of assertive characters

Here are some ways that your assertive character may grow and evolve over time.

  • Learn to compromise and work collaboratively with others
  • Develop empathy and understanding towards those they previously dismissed or disregarded
  • Learn to channel assertiveness in a constructive and positive way
  • Recognize the importance of building relationships and forming connections with others
  • Develop self-awareness and recognize the impact their behavior has on others
  • Recognize the value of vulnerability and emotional expression
  • Learn to listen to others and consider their perspectives
  • Learn to delegate and trust others to take charge

Stereotypes of assertive characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical assertive character like these examples.

  • Avoid making the character always right or unwilling to listen to other perspectives.
  • Avoid making the character insensitive or dismissive of others' feelings or needs.
  • Avoid making the character too aggressive or confrontational without reason.
  • Avoid making the character too impulsive or reckless in their actions.
  • Avoid making the character overly controlling or dominating in their relationships.

Negatives of being assertive

Here are some potential negatives of being assertive. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as positives depending on the context.

  • Being seen as arrogant or overconfident
  • Being disliked or avoided by others
  • Being perceived as aggressive or bossy
  • Risking conflict or tension in relationships
  • Being seen as intimidating or threatening to some people
  • Being accused of not being a team player
  • Being seen as insensitive or uncaring towards others' feelings

Positives of being assertive

Here are some potential positives of being assertive. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as negatives depending on the context.

  • Helps you set boundaries and say "no" when necessary
  • Increases your chances of achieving your goals
  • Improves your ability to handle conflicts and difficult situations
  • Improves communication skills
  • Builds self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Helps you express your needs and wants effectively
  • Enables you to make decisions with more clarity and conviction
  • Enhances your leadership skills
  • Helps you gain respect from others

Verbal expressions of assertive characters

Here are some potential expressions used by assertive characters.

  • Being willing to take risks and make decisions without always seeking approval from others
  • Using confident body language, such as eye contact and a strong posture
  • Expressing opinions and ideas directly and confidently
  • Asking for what you want or need clearly and respectfully
  • Standing up for yourself and others when necessary
  • Using "I" statements to express personal feelings and thoughts
  • Setting boundaries and saying "no" when necessary

Relationships of assertive characters

Here are some ways that being assertive could affect your character's relationships.

  • They tend to be confident and self-assured in their interactions with others, which can come across as domineering or overbearing at times.
  • Assertive people may struggle with compromise or being flexible in their interactions with others, as they may have a strong sense of what they believe is right or wrong.
  • They are often seen as decisive and opinionated, which can be both a strength and a weakness depending on the situation and context.
  • Assertive people often have high standards for themselves and others, which can be motivating but may also lead to feelings of pressure or inadequacy.
  • They may be more comfortable taking charge in group settings or delegating tasks to others, which can be helpful in certain situations but may also create tension or resentment if not done tactfully.
  • Assertive individuals often have clear boundaries and expectations for themselves and others, which can be helpful in maintaining healthy relationships but may also create conflict or misunderstandings if not communicated clearly.
  • They may struggle with vulnerability or sharing their emotions with others, as they may feel that this is a sign of weakness or lack of control.
  • They tend to be direct and straightforward in their communication style, which can be refreshing but may also be perceived as blunt or insensitive.

It's important to note that not all Assertive people will exhibit all of these dynamics, and that these traits can be both positive and negative depending on the situation. The key is to find a balance that works for you and your relationships with others.

Examples from books of characters who are assertive

  • Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Sherlock Holmes from the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle

Writing exercises for writing assertive characters

Here are some writing exercises you might try for learning to write assertive characters.

  • Write a scene where the assertive character stands up for themselves or someone else in a difficult situation. Consider the dialogue, body language, and reactions of the other characters.
  • Develop a conflict where the assertive character has to navigate a situation where their assertiveness is both an asset and a liability. Explore how they balance their confidence with empathy and consideration for others.
  • Create a character profile for an assertive protagonist. Think about their background, motivations, and how their assertiveness affects their relationships and actions.
  • Write a monologue from the assertive character's perspective, exploring their thoughts and feelings about a situation where they had to assert themselves. Consider their inner conflict and how they justify their actions to themselves and others.
  • Write a dialogue between two characters where one is assertive and the other is passive. Explore how the assertive character influences the conversation and the outcome.
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