10 keys to develop assertiveness
Several keys to develop assertiveness in relationships with others.
Assertiveness is a social skill in which one's own rights are prioritized and defended in a respectful way before others.. It is strongly related to self-esteem, adaptive communication styles and improved trust with other people (partners and/or family or social relationships).
If we imagine a horizontal line and place an assertive communication style at the midpoint, the other opposite extremes are passive (allowing others to decide for us and not expressing our rights) and aggressive (not being objective and not respecting others' ideas) communication styles.
On the other hand, assertiveness is a skill that can be worked on and improved, achieving respect for ourselves and for others without having the goal of "winning or being better" but of reaching an agreement in each situation in a respectful way for both.
The following are 10 keys and very useful techniques to achieve an assertive communication style.. There are different techniques to say what we think without being afraid of hurting the other person or being aggressive in the process. Do you identify with any of them?
Recommended assertiveness techniques
These are several useful techniques to enhance assertiveness in your personal relationships.
1. Lower your guard
Avoid being defensive before starting a conversation with a person. In many occasions we have formed expectations of what is going to happen and we anticipate in our ways. (inappropriate body and verbal communication).
Practice starting a conversation with another person by "resetting" previous problems so as not to have an aggressive predisposition in advance. It is as simple as understanding how the relationship with that person is going to improve if I always behave in a verbally aggressive, defensive or passive manner.
It is a first step to change communication with other people with whom we have had disagreements that have ended badly, if you change your attitude you will get the other person to change the way he/she treats you.. It will not make sense to speak badly to you if your attitude is contrary at all times.
2. Do not blame but make yourself respected
If you are aware that the conversation is at a point that causes you discomfort or that both of you are feeling bad, it is better to make a reflection to the other person without using reproach.
In this case the least adaptive way would be to blame the other person for how he or she talks to you.In these cases, using the second person singular: "You are the one who started the argument.... You make me feel bad...". An assertive argument would be the following: "I have realized that I don't want to keep arguing with you, so I will make an effort to understand each other and not feel bad".
3. First person sentences
It is one of the fundamental steps to work on assertiveness. Expressing what has made you feel bad, what is making you suffer, indicating it with sentences in the first person.. In this way it will be easier for the other person to feel empathy instead of perceiving an attack on your part. It is a matter of changing the REPROACH for an adequate expression of your rights.
Thus, it is not the same to say: "You treat me badly in front of other people" as to say "I feel bad when you say something negative about me to other people".
4. Scratch disk technique
The broken record technique consists of repeating the same argument over and over again in a calm and relaxed manner.. It aims to be persistent in what we want or in our rights despite the insistence of the other.
It is useful when they try to manipulate us or want to change our minds by making us feel stupid. Depending on the context, this technique can be perceived by the other person as an aggressive display of behavior, so it should be used when it is really necessary or in combination with other assertive techniques.
5. Assertive questioning
It consists of answering with a question when you receive an accusation or communication that you perceive as aggressive. What do we get? On the one hand, if the other person was making a constructive communication, i.e., to help us even if he was not using the best forms, he will give us more details about his approach. On the other hand, if it was an attack to hurt us emotionally, the interlocutor will not know where to continue the conversation.
An example might be, "You are the most irrational person I know" and reply "Why do you think I am irrational... How do you think I could improve that aspect?".
7. Negative Assertion
A useful technique for learning from criticism, whether or not it is malicious. This technique is also very very practical when living with other people, since it is common to share responsibilities.It is common to have shared responsibilities and that not always everything is carried out in the most desired way.
An example would be: "You forgot to wash the dishes again. You are irresponsible," an assertive person will be able to avoid an argument and reply, "I'm so sorry I haven't done it yet. I'm with (the task or reason for missing it). Next time I'll organize myself better."
8. Think before you speak
Surely we have received this advice on occasion, but it is true that to avoid making the same mistakes it is important to think about the message we want to convey and the appropriate ways to do it. Don't be in a hurry, think that bad manners will invalidate your message..
9. Empathize with the other person
Put yourself in the other person's shoes. How is he/she living this situation? How would I live it in his/her place? Reflecting on these questions can provide greater insight into our beliefs about the person, including in our communication.This can be included in our communication.
It is possible that the discomfort or frustration experienced by the other person is due to his or her circumstances and needs more support from us.
10. Make a commitment not to accumulate complaints
It is preferable to express what bothers us and how we feel.. As long as we are honest and express it in a direct and respectful way. Keeping complaints can have the consequence of exploding at some point, expressing all the accumulated discomfort in a rancorous way.
If you want to keep improving...
I am sure that some of these keys will be very useful to you, it is important to work on them continuously. If you need help to improve these assertive skills and other social skills, you can contact the psychologist Veronica Valderrama Hernandez of Psicoalmeria.
Psicoalmeria is a psychology center specialized in the evaluation, diagnosis, treatment of psychological problems, general improvement of well-being and development of different psychological skills.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)