If you wonder if you need to be more assertive, then you probably do. Following are six ways you can be more assertive in your communication. I will also share a secret about a common fear some people experience about acting more assertive, and how to overcome that fear.
- Share your thoughts and opinions. You may feel like it is polite to continually ‘go with the flow’ and agree to whatever is suggested. However, think about what it would be like if others never shared their thoughts or opinions. When you have an opinion or a thought or idea, share it! Assertive people freely share their thoughts and opinions without the fear of others disagreeing or disliking them as a result. Dr. Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist and professor says, “you get more assertive by telling the truth.”
- Take the initiative. Passive people tend to wait for others to initiate with them. Everyone is delighted when people and opportunities come their way; however, it does not always happen like that. Many times, you must take the initiative Don’t wait for other people or opportunities to approach you. Whether it is an introduction, an opportunity, take the initiative. You do the choosing rather than waiting for people and opportunities to choose you.
- Be specific. Say what you want and need to say so that there is no confusion in your meaning. Don’t be vague. I used to think that being vague with people was polite. But being vague only causes misunderstandings. When you are vague, you hope that others can read between the lines of the point you are trying to make. When they don’t, you only have yourself to blame. Not everyone understands your message or request when you are not specific.
- Say no when you need or want to say no. Passive people usually have a difficult time saying no when they need or want to. You know if you are that kind of person, as you will feel overwhelmed and sometimes resentful because you are doing too many things.
Saying no does not mean you are rude. Saying ‘no’ means ‘no.’
- Ask for help when you need help. Many people confuse asking for help with weakness, which is the opposite of assertiveness. However, as long as you are not trying to get out doing things and acting helpless, asking for help when you need it is a sign of confidence.
- Address issues quickly. When there is something that you need to address, even if it is uncomfortable, do not delay. Assertive people address issues as they arise. The longer you wait to address things, the more likely you will stress about them rather than taking care of them immediately.
You may fear that when they are more assertive, you will be seen as aggressive. However, if you have this fear, then you most likely will never cross that line of being aggressive. What may feel uncomfortable for you can mistakenly feel like aggression; however, it is most likely more of a healthy assertiveness.