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How to Be Assertive without Being Rude

Assertiveness is an important skill that can make your life more enjoyable, but, unfortunately, it’s also vastly misconstrued. Assertiveness is an interpersonal skill in which you demonstrate the healthy confidence to stand up for yourself while still respecting the rights of others. When you are assertive, you are neither passive nor aggressive, but direct and honest.

However, sometimes it’s difficult to be assertive or make your beliefs known, while still maintaining peace and understanding or the opposite, you may come off as rude or controlling. This is because generally, people don’t like to be told what to do or how to do it. The trick is in learning how to stand up for yourself without making others feel imposed upon or controlled.

Utilize the tips given below to effectively communicate in an assertive direct honest way: 

Choose your words and body language carefully. This is especially important if you’re going to assert yourself in situations where you were previously passive. Think about the different ways that your words can be interpreted. The key is to be respectful of those with whom you are trying to communicate with.

Pay attention to your body language as well as the words you say, and make sure you’re congruent in your words, body language, and tone. Also, never expect people to read your mind; if you want something, say so, and if something bothers you, speak up. Be simple, direct, and concise, and state what you know to be true for you. When asserting yourself, remember, less is more. Keep your requests free of meandering or long-winded explanations.

Develop good listening skills. Being assertive takes some great communication skills. Remember that communication has two sides – speaking and listening. Truly listening will help you clearly understand the situation at hand. When you follow up with thoughtful and assertive speech, others are more likely to value your opinion.

Avoid taking things personally. Since being assertive can be touchy, sometimes you’ll do everything right and still end up rubbing someone the wrong way. Learn how to brush off comments that don’t matter and not allow your ego to step in and get bruised.

Be humble. You can combat resistance to your assertiveness by being humble. Avoid bragging about yourself, even if it’s in a joking manner.

Show confidence. in your feelings and position.  People enjoy being led by people who ooze confidence. If you’re going to be assertive and take charge, show the confidence to back it up. To be assertive and sound confident use “I” statements. Make it a habit to say things like “I think … ” or “I feel …. ” Never use aggressive language or phrases like “You never… ” or “You always…. ” These statements trigger other people, leaving them frustrated, and they shut down the conversation. “I” statements allow you to be confident and assertive without alienating and eliminating other people.

Handle negative issues quickly. If problems arise, jump on them immediately. It’s a part of being assertive. Handle issues with kindness and respect and people will remember you for it. If you let problems linger or treat them in a negative manner, people will remember that too.

Set boundaries. Boundaries are the rules and limits you create for yourself that help you decide what you will and won’t allow. This will indicate that people can not walk all over you. Setting boundaries will empower you to know when you need to say yes and when you want to say no.

Remember that the skill of assertiveness is something that develops over time. It may be overwhelming to try to make drastic changes overnight. Ease yourself into it and test the waters. It’s always best to think with clarity and make your changes slowly.

With a gradual change, others will be more likely to accept your new assertiveness. Before you know it, you’ll have their respect for the new, improved you!

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