How Assertive Are You?
How Assertive Are You?
Epstein Assertiveness Competencies Inventory (EACI) v. 1.2, ©2011-2024, Dr. Robert Epstein  

You are about to take a test that comprehensively measures the skills and behaviors that make up assertivenss. Designed by Dr. Robert Epstein (follow on Twitter at @DrREpstein), one of America's most distinguished research psychologists, this test will show you how assertive you are overall and which of thirteen Assertiveness Styles best describes your unique mix of assertiveness, passiveness, and aggressiveness.

Are you a High-Assertive, which means you successfully stand up for yourself in almost all situations? Are you a High-Aggressive, which means you probably get what you want by trampling on the feelings and needs of other people? Or are you in that very odd category called Passive-Aggressive, which means you repress your anger and frustration most of the time and then, when you no longer can stand it, explode into anger?

Assertiveness is the healthy middle ground between passiveness and aggressiveness. It is a behavioral style characterized mainly by four characteristics: (1) standing up for yourself without offending or hurting others, (2) expressing your needs and desires, (3) presenting yourself confidently, and (4) communicating effectively. While some people are naturally more assertive than others, assertiveness can be broken down into a number of skills that can be both measured and trained. In other words, assertiveness can be learned.

That's good news, because assertiveness is an important factor in both personal and professional success. Passive people often aren't treated well because they have trouble making their needs known. Aggressive people sometimes get what they want, but they also hurt people, and sometimes those people strike back.

If you are conducting research and would like to collect raw data for a group that is taking this test - for a business, research study, classroom activity, or other purpose - please see our Group Testing Instructions.

The test will take you about 10 minutes to complete.

Before we get to the test itself, we'll ask you a few basic questions about yourself. This information is being collected to enable us to improve future versions of the test.

*Required response

*Highest Degree:
High School
Community College
American Indian
*Sexual Orientation:
Gay or lesbian

For each of the following questions, select the answer that best applies to you.

*1. When someone speaks to me:
    a. I listen carefully and then express my own thoughts on the matter. 
    b. I usually try to accept everything he or she is saying. 
    c. I frequently interrupt him or her. 

*2. When I need to ask a favor of somone:
    a. I usually ask for the favor clearly and directly. 
    b. I will find a way to get him or her to help me, no matter what it takes. 
    c. I mainly just hint around and hope he or she will get it. 

*3. When I don't understand what someone is saying:
    a. I ask him or her to clarify. 
    b. I pretend to understand. 
    c. I might insult him or her and demand clearer language. 

*4. When speaking with someone:
    a. I maintain good eye contact. 
    b. I sometimes stare or move in close to make him or her uncomfortable. 
    c. I have trouble making eye contact. 

*5. When I have something relevant to add to a conversation:
    a. I speak up at the first opportunity. 
    b. I keep it to myself. 
    c. I will typically interrupt. 

*6. When I'm around people I want to impress:
    a. I usually wear something bold and unique that will make me stand out. 
    b. I dress as I normally do and try not to stand out. 
    c. I dress professionally and appropriately. 

*7. When I don't understand a word someone uses:
    a. I usually pretend I understand. 
    b. I ask him or her to define it. 
    c. I might ridicule him or her demand simpler language. 

*8. When it comes to taking risks:
    a. I tend to play it safe. 
    b. I love the rush of taking risks. 
    c. I take risks when they seem reasonable and appropriate. 

*9. When using social media like Facebook:
    a. I post from time to time when I have something that I think others will find interesting. 
    b. I never post anything. 
    c. I post almost everything I do. 

*10. When I feel like I'm losing control:
    a. It's best to stay out of my way. 
    b. I stay away from other people. 
    c. I know ways to calm myself down. 

*11. When it comes to my nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion:
    a. I say nothing when people insult them. 
    b. I defend them vigorously when necessary. 
    c. People that aren't like me are generally inferior, and I let them know it. 

*12. If I can't do something on my own:
    a. I ask for help. 
    b. I might take out my frustration on whoever is nearby. 
    c. I usually just give up. 

*13. When dealing with salespeople:
    a. I have trouble saying no. 
    b. I can easily say "not today, thanks." 
    c. I usually cut them off or tell them to leave me alone. 

*14. To keep myself positive:
    a. I use positive self-talk, affirmations, or other means to try to stay positive. 
    b. I'm always positive because I know I'm the best. 
    c. I have trouble staying positive. 

*15. When I'm unhappy in a relationship:
    a. I tend to blame my partner. 
    b. I usually say nothing. 
    c. I let my partner know and try to improve things. 

*16. When I'm not sure someone has understood what I said:
    a. I usually rephrase what I said. 
    b. I usually pretend not to notice his or her confusion. 
    c. I might berate him or her for not getting it. 

*17. When I'm arguing with someone:
    a. I usually concede. 
    b. I'm usually willing to compromise. 
    c. I usually refuse to back down. 

*18. When someone asks about my accomplishments:
    a. I usually say very little. 
    b. I share them confidently. 
    c. I might talk his or her ear off. 

*19. When I'm blamed for something I didn't do:
    a. I usually try to shift the blame to someone else. 
    b. I usually speak up and defend myself. 
    c. I usually accept the blame because it's easier than arguing. 

*20. When going out to eat with a friend:
    a. I always know the best places to eat. 
    b. I have no trouble suggesting a restaurant. 
    c. I usually let him or her choose the restaurant. 

*21. If I'm not sure someone has heard me:
    a. I calmly repeat myself. 
    b. I pretend I hadn't said anything. 
    c. I might berate him or her for not listening to me. 

*22. When I need to make a decision:
    a. I often go with whatever decision pops into my head, even if it's risky. 
    b. I often feel overwhelmed and don't act. 
    c. I quickly weigh my options, then decide. 

*23. When I'm facing a challenge:
    a. I'll typically do whatever it takes to succeed. 
    b. I tend to think about all the things that could go wrong. 
    c. I try to imagine myself succeeding. 

*24. If my needs are not met during sex:
    a. I usually keep it to myself. 
    b. I usually explain the problem calmly to my partner. 
    c. I sometimes go completely berserk. 

*25. When it comes to my beliefs and opinions:
    a. I'm usually right. 
    b. I usually keep them to myself. 
    c. I'm not afraid to defend them. 

*26. When I feel love for someone:
    a. I usually let him or her know that he or she belongs to me. 
    b. It usually stays a secret. 
    c. I usually let him or her know. 

*27. When speaking:
    a. I often feel the need to speak very loudly or shout to make sure I'm heard. 
    b. I always try to speak loudly enough so people can hear me easily. 
    c. I tend to speak quietly, and sometimes people can't hear me. 

*28. When it comes to email:
    a. I often use my email to express my anger. 
    b. I actively check and use my email to stay in touch with people. 
    c. I check my email as little as possible. 

*29. When I receive a compliment:
    a. I usually smile and say thank you. 
    b. I usually tell people how good I'm doing before they tell me. 
    c. I generally turn away or blush. 

*30. If I need something while sitting in a restaurant:
    a. I generally do whatever I have to do to get someone's attention. 
    b. I usually wait until my server makes his or her rounds. 
    c. I usually ask the nearest server. 

*31. When I feel I am being used by someone:
    a. I sometimes get extremely angry and lash out. 
    b. I generally speak up and refuse to continue. 
    c. I usually do nothing. 

*32. When I am shopping and feel an item is overpriced:
    a. I generally pay the listed price. 
    b. I usually insist on getting a discount. 
    c. I generally ask for a discount. 

*33. When it comes to initiating contact with people I don't know:
    a. I may interrupt someone's conversation to introduce myself. 
    b. I usually don't. 
    c. I do so fairly easily. 

*34. When asking people out on dates:
    a. I sometimes continue asking even after I've been rejected. 
    b. I usually don't ask. 
    c. I'm usually pretty confident about asking someone out. 

*35. When someone is annoying me:
    a. I generally hope he or she stops soon. 
    b. I may get angry and shout or threaten violence. 
    c. I typically ask him or her to stop, calmly but firmly. 

*36. If someone were to cut in front of me in a line:
    a. I would probably calmly ask him or her to go to the back of the line. 
    b. I would probably pretend it didn't happen. 
    c. I might shout at him or her or threaten violence. 

*37. When I have a question:
    a. I generally ask it, even if it seems dumb. 
    b. I'm often too afraid to ask. 
    c. I generally insist that people answer it quickly and to my complete satisfaction. 

*38. When someone asks me to do something I don't want to do:
    a. I usually make damn sure he or she won't ask me again. 
    b. I generally say "No," firmly but calmly. 
    c. I usually just do it. 

*39. If someone were to criticize or insult me:
    a. I would probably feel terrible. 
    b. I would probably return the insult. 
    c. I might call him or her rude or try to make a joke of it. 

*40. When it comes to my posture:
    a. I generally maintain good posture and might criticize those who do not. 
    b. I generally maintain good posture. 
    c. I often tend to slouch. 

*41. If someone were to interrupt me:
    a. I would probably let it go and listen. 
    b. I would probably talk louder or shout, "Don't interrupt me!" 
    c. I would probably calmly let him or her know that I wasn't finished speaking. 

*42. Regarding people who are important in my life:
    a. I sometimes berate them if they don't keep in touch. 
    b. I usually have trouble keeping in touch. 
    c. I generally make a reasonable effort to keep in touch.