Tag Archives: Assertiveness

Mar 10

The American Heritage Dictionary defines assertiveness as expressing oneself confidently. It is the balance of looking after your own needs and boundaries, while also respecting those of others

There are 3 basic styles of interpersonal behavior and communication styles:

1. Aggressive: Blaming, accusing, threatening, abrasiveness. Does not respect the boundaries of others.
2. Passive: Subject to inaction. Without responding. Meekness. Will not defend one’s own position, and may be manipulated by others.
3. Assertive: Expressing true beliefs, thoughts, feelings. Will speak their mind or defend their boundaries while respecting those of others.

Being assertive means acting in your own best interest; being either passive or aggressive is not. When you learn to be assertive, meekness, withdrawal, attack, and blaming are no longer needed. The essence of being assertive is to be direct, not manipulative and to be honest, but tactful. Addressing your position or opinion respectfully but firmly is being assertive.

Types of Assertion:
1. Basic Assertion: A simple expression of position. To some one who constantly interrupts, for example, “Excuse me, I’d like to finish what I have to say.”

2. Empathic Assertion:
Includes 2 parts: a) Recognition of the other person’s feelings
b) Standing up for your position

“I understand you’re in a real bind, but I have too much to do so I can’t do your chores too, sorry.”

3. “I” Language Assertion: Useful in expressing difficult negative feelings. A 4-part statement:

a) When – Describe the other person’s actions
b) The effects are – How the actions affect you
c) I think / feel – Optional description of thoughts, feelings
d) I wish / I’d prefer, etc. – You describe what you want.

“When you constantly interrupt, I feel disrespected and discounted. I wish you’d be polite and wait until I am finished speaking.”

“When you criticize me in front of others without trying to help, I think you’re just trying to hurt me or make a fool of me. I’d prefer you give me constructive feedback privately.”