6 signs that you have assertiveness problems.
Signs that you need to improve your level of assertiveness in social interactions.
The way we manage the way we relate to others explains much of our ability to enjoy physical and mental well-being. After all, we are a social species, we have evolved to be in contact with other members of humanity, and much of our learning has to do with knowing how to coexist and communicate with others.
However, getting along well in social relationships is not always easy. In the interaction with others there are many factors at play, and one of them has to do with our way of finding a balance between what we want to express and what we believe others would like to hear from us. Those who succeed in doing so, manage to communicate in a way that defends their rights and opinions while respecting their interlocutors when expressing them. Those who do not, develop assertiveness problems.. Let's see what they consist of.
What is assertiveness?
The assertiveness is, said in a summarized way, the capacity to express those things that we believe important to be able to say, at the same time that we empathize with the interlocutor and adapt our language so as not to generate unnecessary discomfort in him/her..
This means that assertiveness takes into account both one's own interests and those of the person listening or reading what we say. Therefore, it is one of the psychological aptitudes for living in society, since it allows us to generate networks of mutual help in which everyone's interests are represented in a more or less balanced way.
Learning to develop social skills that incorporate good assertiveness is basic to be able to perform well in social relationships, both in personal life and at work.both in personal life and at work. Here we will see why.
How do I know if I have assertiveness problems? 6 warning signs
Many people have problems on a frequent basis because of poor assertiveness. Of these, many are aware of what is happening to them and seek professional help in psychotherapy, a context in which it is possible to train social skills; however, a very large percentage of these people are either unaware of the origin of their discomfort when interacting with others, or assume that it is inevitable to always fall into these mistakes.
To become aware of what it means to experience assertiveness problems, pay attention to this list of signs that indicate that you are suffering from them in your daily life.
1. You prefer to wait hours or even days before saying something you think will not be liked.
If this behavior is systematic and repeated on a relatively frequent basisIf this behavior is systematic and repeated relatively frequently, it is very likely that you have a problematic lack of assertiveness.
2. You create problems by not communicating uncomfortable facts or mistakes you have made.
This "strategy" of flight forward is very common in those who have assertiveness problems, and is an example of self-sabotaging behavior. They only serve to accumulate the setbacks to be solved, and to worsen relationships by not speaking up when it was time to do so.
3. A tendency to conformity appears
People with lack of assertiveness assume a passive role in communication, leaving it to others to make the decisions or to express the most important ideas. or who express the most important ideas.
4. There is a need to change plans because of not having one's own interests respected.
Another sign that someone has assertiveness problems can be found in the tendency to take for granted situations that are incompatible with his or her plans, without even trying to generate alternatives or talk about it. the tendency to take for granted situations that are incompatible with his or her plans, without even trying to generate alternatives or discuss it with others to find a situation that fits better with everyone's interests. with others to find a situation that better fits everyone's interests.
5. Passive-aggressive confrontational style
Even when people with a lack of assertiveness express their anger, they do so without directly confronting or speaking clearly about what has bothered them, and they fold to the situation.They will fold themselves into the situation that has caused their discomfort. At most, they will ambiguously express their emotional state of disgust or displeasure, and little else.
6. What you say is often unintentionally hurtful.
Do not forget that not all assertiveness problems are caused by not daring to contradict the other person; the opposite can also happen, that we hardly think about how what we say can be taken.. When this happens, communication is disrupted both by the negative emotional impact of what we have said and by our attempts to "fix" the uncomfortable situation we have caused, which interrupt the flow of communication.
Looking for psychotherapeutic support?
If you want to have professional psychological support to improve your social skills, contact me: I offer sessions both in person in the Malaga area, and online by video call.
- Castanyer, O. (2003). Assertiveness: expression of a healthy self-esteem. Bilbao: Descleé de Brouwer.
- Kelly, J. (2015). Training in Social Skills. Bilbao: Desclée de Brouwer.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)