The Difference Between Assertive and Aggressive

by Eric Disco
Oct 1

Where do you draw the line between confident and cocky? Between assertive and aggressive?

How do you walk around like you think highly of yourself, but not like you think you’re better than everyone else?

Guys are always trying to reach that line. But they usually fail.

I’ll illustrate why with an example.

In coaching guys, one of the biggest problems is that they don’t speak loudly enough when talking with women.

About 95% of the guys I coach speak too quietly.

Introspective guys tend to speak quietly with everyone, friends included. And then they speak even lower when they take initiative with a stranger.

Put that guy on a crowded train where other people are within earshot, and he’ll speak even quieter.

It’s barely a whisper.

Speaking loudly is the biggest difference, by far, between getting a positive and a negative reaction from a woman. It’s the hallmark of confidence.

When a guy speaks loudly, he’s showing her with his body language that he isn’t afraid, that he’s not ashamed of himself, that he doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong, and he’s not apologizing.

It shows her that he is unequivocally speaking to her and no one else.

So naturally, when I coach guys, I’ll tell them they need to speak louder.

But they never do.

They try to speak louder and they come back and ask me whether they spoke `loud enough.’

The problem is that `loud enough’ is not ever as loud as they should be doing. When you aim for `loud enough,’ you always fall short.

I tell the guy, “No, it wasn’t loud enough. Speak louder.”

“Is this loud enough?” he asks, projecting his voice a lot louder.

“Yes,” I tell him.

“It feels like I’m shouting,” he says.

But it doesn’t sound like he’s shouting. It sounds like he’s speaking at a normal voice volume.

This is why I tell guys to speak 20% louder than what they think is normal for any environment.

If you’re in a deli ordering, what volume do you think a confident person would use? Speak 20% louder.

If you’re ordering at the bar, what volume do you think a confident person would use? Speak 20% louder.

When you aim for the line, you will always fall short.

That’s because your body is fighting you when you try to act confident. You are so used to doing it one way, that it feels unnatural to do it another. It feels uncomfortable.

The truth is, there is no line between confident and cocky, between assertive and aggressive. There is no appropriate way to take initiative that will make everyone happy.

If you’re aiming to please everyone, you’ll keep falling short.

As inherent nice guys, we snap back to niceness like a rubber band. It’s hard not to.

But you can get out of that rut.

In order to proceed, you have to aim a lot higher than you think is `appropriate.’ You need to push yourself further out of your comfort zone than you think is possible.

You have to swing the pendulum a little further than just the middle.

And if you overshoot it once in a while, if you’re too aggressive and too cocky once in a while, congratulate yourself.

That means you’re on the right path.


posted in Attraction

15 responses
equilibrium says:

Eric, great post! I used to be the quiet type and use a beta type voice when i talked to people especially strangers a couple of years back. Then i started to talk louder and more assertive to people and definitely saw a positive change.
My issue is that on occasion when i speak with a woman or even a female friend, i get labelled as a douche or dick. They say i’m too cocky, and way too confident. I use a loud voice when i speak to woman as well. Any suggestions at what I may be doing wrong?

Eric Disco says:

Speaking loudly will not get you labeled as a douche or a dick. It’s possible that you are bantering and joking too much without being able to read whether they’re into it. You may be busting on her too much. That’s the typical problem.

It could also be that these friends of yours are used to seeing you act quiet and reserved and seeing you act outspoken rattles them. Your friends have a certain way of seeing you and when you change, that can upset them.


Crebral says:

Great post!

Ariel says:

It’s like you always read my mind and give me exactly the post I need:-) I am in Poland now, where people are super quite and reserved.. so today I started thinking maybe all this pickup stuff is inappropriate here (although girls liked it a few times). But now I feel more motivated to get out there.

MrAntiquity says:


The women in Poland are friendly and gorgeous. I was in Warsaw in April. I didn’t get anywhere, but I chatted up a lot of girls while I was there and they were completely happy to meet a foreigner.

Do you speak Polish? If not, perhaps they seem quiet and reserved because of the language barrier…. but many of them (esp. in the larger cities) speak enough English to at least have a flirty conversation.

Ariel says:

Well I hope you are right. I just came back from quite a ruthless time at a nightclub:-( I’m in Krakow and think maybe there’s more resistance to foreigners here. I did get better reactions during the day, but also kind of reserved. But it may have a lot to do with the language barrier. So I’m trying to learn some basic Polish stuff. I have to so lookwise I’m also disappointed. There are some quite ones, but not nearly as gorgeous as other eastern europians like the Ukranian women.

MrAntiquity says:


NO ONE in a nightclub is friendly! That’s the point of a nightclub :) Lots of really great girls who would be awesome to meet during the day turn into right bitches in clubs. Why? Because they’re full of a bunch of sleazy guys hitting on them. Don’t let that color your impression of the girls.

I’m surprised you don’t find Polish women all that attractive–I found them drop-dead gorgeous :) But that’s just a matter of taste, I guess…

Ariel says:

sorry for all the spelling errors – so=say, 2nd quite=cute

Ariel says:

Anyway, this whole trip to Poland is a huge mess. I came here cause I fell in love with a Polish girl, but she’s in a serious relationship. She wanted to meet, but I told her not while she’s in a relationship (she already cheated on this guy with me when she was abroad) and she will never leave him, and even if she did I’d just feel guilty cause it would kill him. It’s a crapy situation. I rented an apartment here and paid rent in advance for 3 months:-(

Jason says:

Ariel – NO.

Your situation need not be in a mess. You’re in a beautiful city, with a low cost of living, full of gorgeous girls.

Go and meet some. No need to learn Polish – most girls in Krakow speak English and having been there for a 5 day trip, I can confirm that most are FRIENDLY!!

Ariel says:

MrAntiquity – Thanks. Ye, it is better during the day
Jason – Thanks. Just what I needed to hear.

Mickey says:

Mr. A:

Admittedly, I have zero experience being a player, so let’s get that out of the way.

That said, I think your earlier response to Ariel begs the question: if nobody in a nightclub is friendly, and the women there have their guard up and are ready to cut every guy down at the knees, what’s the point in going?

Mark says:


Ariel says:

Guys.. the night club scene is such a mystery to me.. and the big mystery is it seems to see a mystery to everybody! I look around at the cool confident guys at the club, and looks like they are getting nowhere either (at least here in Krakow) My current theory is talking is bad – This girl and I have eye contact .. I go to her wanting to her she is sexy and as soon as I open my mouth shes says `I don’t know you. I can’t tallk to you’ – Ouch!! Later that night she ocaisoanlly is right next to me with her back. One of those times I start holding her and kissing her neck. She does not object, though moves away after bout 40 seconds. This happend once or twice more. I figure I shoudl say something by now. but immeidately as I open my mouth her friend says `don’t you understand she doesn’t want to dance with you? Bye Bye’

Manray says: