Become more assertive in your everyday life.

Assertiveness is a skill based on the idea that your needs, wants, and feelings are neither more not less important than those of other people: they are equally important. You should, therefore, make claims for yourself appropriately, honestly and clearly. Learning how to do this helps ensure that you do not come away from situations feeling bad about yourself, or leaving others feeling bad.

Gillian Butler and Tony Hope, Manage Your Mind.

Non-assertive behaviour might be:

  • passive (for instance, agreeing with other people all the time, finding it difficult to say ‘no’, or taking on extra roles/jobs that you don’t have time for);
  • aggressive (for instance intimidating others, demanding from others, using verbal or physical violence to bully others into doing what you want).

Becoming More Assertive

Assertiveness can help us make requests, give and receive praise, disagree with someone and give or receive feedback – all necessary skills in our daily lives. Being able to face these situations with confidence can lead to reduced stress and increased self-confidence.

You can begin to behave more assertively by trying out the following approaches:

  • state your position clearly and tell others how their behaviour affects you;
  • be clear and to the point, avoid detailed accounts that may confuse the listener;
  • take ownership and responsibility for what you say by using ‘I’ statements;
  • make a distinction between fact and opinion;
  • offer suggestions;
  • be constructive in criticism;
  • use questions to clarify and discover other opinions;
  • be aware of your non-verbal communications – tone, body language, facial expression and eye contact.

Other assertive behaviours that you may find helpful include:

  • writing down what you are going to say and taking time to rehearse it;
  • being honest with yourself and others;
  • actively listening to others;
  • being willing to compromise and negotiate;
  • thinking before you speak – you may need time to consider your answer;
  • repeating your response, rather than being diverted into an argument;
  • admitting a mistake;
  • having the confidence to change your mind;
  • praising others.