How to be Assertive
Monica Segeren
how to be assertive

For some, the question of “How to be assertive?” can be uncomfortable if they have never been assertive before. The idea of being confident and having a firm stance on your ideas can be difficult but it is completely possible to achieve. Being assertive can reduce your stress and can help you in your overall job performance. The Mayo Clinic also mentions benefits of: improved communication, improved self-confidence and self-esteem, earning respect from peers and professionals, creating honest relationships, learning the ability to say no and helps you express your feelings better. Let’s look at ways on how to be assertive or even improve on how to be more assertive! 

What Do You Need to Improve? 

Before anything else, it is important to take a look at how you handle situations. You can even ask your peers, friends, coworkers or families to take notes over the course of a couple of days in order to get a better insight. Do you keep your emotions hidden? Do you limit how you feel and hide it? Do you lie in order to please others? Keep tabs on how many times you want to say no but you end up doing the task anyway. Are you more of a passive or aggressive speaker? Create a checklist of what you need to improve and work on it from there. 

Start Off With Smaller Tasks 

Like mentioned previously, being assertive can be a daunting task. When starting off your journey to becoming more assertive in your day-to-day life, change little things that you would not normally do or say. For example, your roommate constantly asks for help on their homework even though you have a pile of homework to do yourself. Instead of saying yes out of guilt, say: “I’m sorry but I can’t tonight. I have a lot of work to do.” Be assertive even when they ask you again and ask them to email the tutoring center and explain that you cannot help them at that moment. Another example is attending a family event when you have something previously scheduled in advance. This is where a lot of people can lose the power of being assertive due to family conflict; however, be conscious of your own needs. Say: “I’m sorry but I have something previously planned.” Be firm! 

Use Body Language 

Just like your choice of words, the way you present yourself is equally important. Make eye contact, do not fidget your hands with anything, stand up tall, and have your feet planted firmly on the ground. Exert your confidence in your words and your body to show assertiveness. 

Always Use “I” Statements

Instead of putting blame on others and not asserting your own point of view, you will never be assertive. Instead of saying “you never log calls” say: “I need you to log your calls in order to obtain the appropriate statistics,” it comes off as more professional and more likely the other person will listen. 

Practice, Practice, Practice 

We have all heard the term “practice makes improvement” and that is important to keep in mind when learning how to be assertive. We cannot be perfect when it comes to communicating; however, with the help of friends and family helping us—you can do a lot with a little bit of help. Practicing simple responses to prompts can help with other friends and family situations. When it comes to a bigger, more serious situation, it is important to practice all of the scenarios so you can plan on keeping yourself professional and assertive. What has helped you be assertive? Let us know! 

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