Communicating effectively depends a great deal on how we express ourselves. Our expression can be either aggressive, passive / avoidant, or assertive.
Aggressive: When engaging in an aggressive expression, your goal is domination and control of a conflict. You usually get what you want, but you might end up hurting others and damaging relationships.
Passive / Avoidant: When engaging in a passive / avoidant expression, your goal is to avoid and indirectly resist conflict. You rarely experience direct rejection from others, and people might view you as easy-going. However, others might take advantage of you, and avoidance might cause more interpersonal conflict than if you had used a more direct approach.
Assertive: When engaging in an assertive expression, your goal is to resolve conflict and come to an increased understanding with the other person(s). You usually get your needs met without hurting others. It can be difficult to do and takes more effort.
The goal is to engage in assertive communication. Communication is a two-way street and involves delivering your message as well as listening and responding to another person. Assertiveness can be applied both ways.
Refer to the Assertive Communication exercise for guidance on how to ask for what you need and say no assertively.