When you become more assertive, people respect you. They respect your boundaries, your self-esteem, your opinions, and especially your decisions. However, for many of us, this seems like a dream.
Many times our friends and co-workers will push us into doing something we don’t want to do. They also cross their boundaries and leave no room for personal space.
Many times we feel like someone just took advantage of us but we don’t do anything. We end up not speaking for ourselves and this keeps on building a bitter resentment inside of us.
And it’s never a clear situation, nobody makes us do these things on a gunpoint. Rather it’s always subtle and psychological. We find ourselves in these kinds of situations—trapped and helpless.
So naturally, after messing up, we say to ourselves: “If only I had taken a stand for myself.” Taking a stand means speaking when you feel like someone is being unfair to us.
Do note that speaking up for yourself doesn’t mean you have to be aggressive, passive-aggressive, or aggressive lite. But it means:
“Behaving confidently and able to say in a direct way what you want or believe.” — Cambridge dictionary
Now that the purpose and definition are clear, let’s learn to become more assertive.
1. Use the Broken Record Technique
This one is very popular and equally useful when you’re trying to become more assertive. The technique comes in handy when you’re not satisfied with a service or a product.
It is as simple as it sounds. You continue to request your demands calmly and try to get it done. Apart from being calm, there are one or two other things which you can do to make your request fulfilled.
For example, you visited your tailor shop to collect your suit but you found your pants are a bit tight. Initially, your tailor is defensive claiming that you agreed on the same size.
Now to win this situation, you can react in three ways:
- Get aggressive and demand a discount.
- Not react at all and pay the original amount.
- Make a request for a discount using the above technique.
For example, you can say something like: “I’d appreciate it if I can get some discount on the pants.” or “I know this happened, but you must consider deducting $10 for the ill-fitting.”
The trick is to keep repeating your request in different variations. You can add other elements for making your case stronger:
“I’ve been your loyal customer for a long time and I wouldn’t ask for it if it wasn’t necessary.”
Final note: Maintain your calmness throughput, be specific, and don’t make the person realize that they have done a major mistake—doesn’t work like that.
2. Become the Scapegoat
When you practice becoming more assertive, you will face many situations. Situations where you have to point out fingers to call out someone’s wrongdoing.
However, people easily get offended when someone takes their names, so in situations like that. You should soften the tone and language. Here are some ways to do that:
- Tell what they did right before telling them the wrong one. For instance, if somebody did a bad job, start by mentioning what they got right.
- Don’t be too direct, add some observation. For instance, rather than going all “You can’t do a single task.” say something like: “I feel like you need to improve on this particular area.”
If your unique criteria or boundaries are needed to be justified, this can be an advantage. If someone asks “why,” just become the scapegoat.
3. Other People’s Point of View
Yes, becoming more assertive is about what your needs and wants are. But it’s no secret in the self-development world that you need to recognize other people’s wishes also.
If you consider this, you can leverage it to get what you want eventually. This is one of the oldest techniques and it is used to create a common ground.
How this works is, when you consider someone else’s point of view, you will have the knowledge to offer them something in exchange. Once you give something, you become reasonable enough to ask for something else in exchange.
However, first, you need to genuinely help them. Hep them with something so that it would look natural when you want to ask something in return.
For example, Let’s say your coworker wants you to cover for them but and they didn’t even provide any prior notice. So in cases like that, you can say something like:
“I’m happy to help you on such short notice this time because I consider you as a friend. However, I’d appreciate it, if from the next time you let me know earlier so that I can better manage my time.”
This is a perfect example. You can use the same technique in relationships and other walks of life. You’re not only being open to set boundaries but because you have genuinely helped someone, you can ask the same in the future.
When you become more assertive—your communication skills drastically improves. You no longer feel like nobody is listening to you.
Because now—you’re able to put your opinions, suggestions, and speak up for yourself in general, you no longer feel like a pushover.
And people will even respect you and your boundaries for that. Rember the crux is to practice more assertiveness because it’s a skill that can be achieved by taking actionable steps.