In a nutshell: being assertive helps us relate with people in a direct and courteous manner. We stand our ground and reduce our anxiety, while increasing the connection we have with people. All the while we have one focus: on what needs to happen from now on.
In the other column, ‘Don’t live in Wimp City’, are listed tips on how to develop assertivenss skills in day-to-day life, and become more confident (and less anxious) as a result.
In this column we look at how we can respond in specific situations.
1. Don’t turn the other cheek if someone disrespects you. Say something.
2. Dealing with an angry person.
3. Dealing with a nasty person. There are ways that will help you feel okay.
4. Dealing with hostile emailers. Some helpful tips.
5. Kids: avoid being ‘nagged’ by a parent. Here’s a tip that helped me!
6. Steps to take if you need to confront someone. It’s best to do it the right way!
7. Getting away from talkers. We have all been there!
8. Opportunities to practise being assertive. It’s a list you can print and complete.
‘At first blush, Nice Guys seem like saints. They appear generous, flexible, and extremely polite. But if you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll often find a helpless, anxious, and resentful core. Nice Guys are often filled with anxiety because their self-worth depends on the approval of others and getting everyone to like them. They waste a lot of time trying to figure out how to say no to people and even then, often end up still saying yes, because they can’t go through with it. They don’t feel they can go after their true desires, because they’re locked into doing what others say they should do. Because “go with the flow” is their default approach to life, Nice Guys have little control over their lives and consequently feel helpless, shiftless, and stuck. They’re also typically resentful and vindictive because their unspoken needs aren’t being met and they feel like others are always taking advantage of them – even though they’re the ones who allow it to happen.’
From the Art of Manliness website.
The tips below aren’t for just being assertive; use them in day-to-day life.
Posture: Stand (or sit) straight, lean in just a fraction, and aim to look confident, calm and unflappable.
Voice: Speak clearly in a confident way.
Eyes: Look at the person and nowhere else.
If someone is being aggressive, be firm and polite.
If someone is not being aggressive, be firm and polite, and friendly.
‘. . . where our strength and determination are clear, our words need merely to convey conviction, not belligerence. If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself. If we are weak, words will be of no help.’
A speech writer for J. F. Kennedy.
Fewer words the better.
Keep it simple. You are focusing on what needs to happen, and that shouldn’t take long to express.
If you need to work with the person to create a solution for you both, don’t stray from the task. Don’t waste time complaining. Work to solve the problem.
Be honest. To convince someone, they need to believe that what you are saying is true.