Assertiveness is an important skill for effective communication as an adult. Assertiveness allows you to advocate for yourself and your needs in a healthy way. Some people interpret assertiveness as hostility or rudeness. Many factors can go into how assertiveness is interpreted or received. Let’s take a look at ways to advocate for yourself in an effective manner.
What Is Assertiveness?
Assertiveness is an interpersonal skill. It demonstrates your confidence and allows you to advocate for your needs, desires and boundaries while being respectful towards others. You are taking care of yourself by looking out for yourself.
Steps To Being Assertive
- Ask for you want or need respectfully
- It is ok to say “No”
- Speak your mind
- Remember you do not need to take responsibility for how the other person reacts and responds.
- You have a right to your feelings
- Use “I” statements when speaking
- Don’t apologize for your feelings or needs.
You can definitely be assertive without being rude. Tact is a thing. So is delivery. How you advocate for your needs can make a difference in how it is received. You can be assertive without being aggressive or impolite.
Using “I” statements to convey your needs helps prevent the person you are speaking to understand that you are stating your needs, and not placing blame. At times people may take assertiveness as rudeness when it is not. This is not your responsibility. Stay calm, keep it positive and constructive, but speak your needs.
Assertiveness comes easy for some and is an anxiety-inducing challenge for others. The thing is, the more you do it the easier it gets. If being assertive does not come naturally for you start small. Practice stating your opinions in lower fidelity situations first.
Gain confidence as you go. Don’t apologize for stating your wants and needs. Know your boundaries and beliefs on bigger issues and be ready to peacefully and proactively advocate for your needs.
- Placing blame
- Sharing your wants and needs in a confrontational or aggressive manner
- Yelling or shouting
- Being unwilling to hear the other person out
Try to be diplomatic and do your best to stay calm. Also, understand that you can’t force someone to respect your assertive requests and behaviour. You know what is best for you and only you can decide what to do if your requests are not honored. Stay true to your integrity and values.