Wish you were able to be more direct about your needs, wants, or feelings in a way that is respectful to others? The good news it that assertiveness is a skill that can be developed! With some practice, you can begin to use this communication skill to build confidence, improve your circumstances, and reduce toxic conflict in your personal and working life. Just follow a few of the tips below!
Make the decision to change. In order to change a behavior, you have to be mentally prepared to do so. The first step to becoming more assertive is to commit to being assertive rather than passive or aggressive.
Aim for open and honest communication. Remember to respect other people when you are sharing your feelings, wants, needs, beliefs or opinions.
Listen actively. First, try to understand where the other person is coming from. Do this is a respectful way and don’t interrupt the person while they are explaining how they feel.
Remain calm. If what the other person is saying is not something that you want to hear, don’t react hastily. Take a deep breath and put some thought into how you can respond most effectively.
Take a problem-solving approach to conflict. Try to see the other person as your friend not your enemy. Use statements that include ‘I’ in them such as ‘I think’ or ‘I feel’. Don’t use aggressive language such as ‘you always’ or ‘you never’.
Be patient. Being assertive is a skill that needs practice. Remember that you will sometimes do better at it than at other times, but you can always learn from your mistakes.
Avoid guilt trips. Be honest and tell others how you feel or what you want without making accusations or making them feel guilty.
Agree to disagree. Remember that having a different point of view doesn’t mean you are right and the other person is wrong.
Practice assertiveness. Talk in an assertive way in front of a mirror or with a friend. Pay attention to your body language as well as to the words you say
Online talk therapy is a great way to help build confidence and communication abilities. Click here to learn more about being coached on assertiveness skills by a licensed therapist. All sessions are conducted through messaging, phone, or video sessions so it’s super easy to get started!