The Secret to Being Assertive Without Being Aggressive
There are 3 basic communication styles. If you’re passive, you find it difficult to express your feelings and needs. If you’re aggressive, you tend to put your own interests ahead of others.
If you’re assertive, you know how to advocate for yourself while respecting those around you.
As you might expect, the assertive style is likely to make you happier and more successful. The trouble is that it can be difficult to distinguish between being aggressive and being assertive in some situations.
While childhood experiences play a big role in how you relate to others, you can develop new communication skills at any age if you’re willing to practice. Discover the secret to becoming assertive.
1. Check your ego. Aggression makes it difficult to see beyond your own desires. Try letting someone else win for a change.
Practice being content with what you have instead of grasping for more.
2. Focus on solutions. Work towards the common good rather than thinking exclusively about your own interests.
You’ll probably receive more cooperation.
3. Take responsibility. When you’re tempted to blame others, remember that you are accountable for your decisions.
Review your options and prepare to take decisive action.
4. Consider consequences. Acting on impulse can be hazardous to your wellbeing.
Slow down and think through how your actions are likely to affect your future.
1. Be tactful and direct. Aggressive personalities tend to use too much force.
You can still pursue what you want through collaboration rather than domination.
2. Ask for input. Build trust by letting others know that you care about their opinions and preferences.
Welcome constructive criticism and advice.
3. Listen closely. Practice your listening skills by being attentive and resisting the urge to interrupt.
Be open to perspectives that are different from your own.
4. Make eye contact. Body language counts too. Face others when you’re talking without staring or invading their space.
Stand up straight and relax your face.
5. Cultivate connections. Assertiveness comes more naturally when you feel like you’re among friends.
Look for the positive qualities in others. Try to be helpful and generous.
6. Stay calm. You’ll appear more assertive if you have a peaceful demeanor. Start a daily meditation practice.
Pause and take a few deep breaths when you’re dealing with stressful events.
7. Address issues promptly. Resolve conflicts before they grow bigger.
For example, asking your partner to pitch in with the chores early in your marriage could prevent nagging or screaming matches later on.
8. Rehearse your part. If assertiveness is relatively new for you, it’s natural that you may revert to your old habits, especially under stress.
Visualize yourself responding differently or role play with a friend who wants to support you in making positive changes.
Valuing yourself and others encourages assertiveness rather than aggression.
When you can stand up for your rights without violating the rights of others, you’re more likely to reach your goals and enjoy satisfying relationships.
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The Surprising Truth About Being Conflict Avoidant
Do you apologize when someone steps on your foot? Do you tell your in-laws that you love surprise visits? If so, you may be conflict avoidant.
While it’s natural to feel uncomfortable about clashing with others, your efforts to maintain harmony at any cost are probably backfiring.
To find the peace you’re seeking, you’ll need to move from being conflict avoidant to conflict resilient. Use these suggestions to change the way you deal with disagreements. Dealing with Constructive Conflict
Making friends with conflict will help you to be happier and more successful. You’ll also find it easier to connect with others when you talk through disagreements rather than withdrawing or letting resentments build up. 1. Accept your feelings.
Maybe you panic because any signs of friction trigger strong fear and anxiety. The first step to taking control is embracing those feelings rather than resisting them. 2. Rehearse your response.
Think about what you want to say before a confrontation occurs. Role playing or writing your thoughts down may help. 3. Stick to the facts.
Conflict avoidant personalities often have strong emotions. However, when you’re talking things through it pays to be rational. Others may try to dismiss your feelings, but facts are more difficult to ignore. 4. Recognize common ground.
You can be agreeable while you disagree. Collaborating with others is more effective than trying to be right or casting blame. 5. Assert yourself.
At the same time, you need to advocate for yourself. Believe in your own worth and stand up for your interests. 6. Listen closely.
Show the same consideration for others. Once you state your position, give them a chance to air their side. Try to understand their concerns and let them know you care about their welfare too. 7. Propose solutions.
Be prepared to explain the specific outcome you’re seeking. You may not always get what you want, but you’re more likely to succeed if you know how to ask for it. Avoiding Destructive Conflict
While it’s usually advantageous to face conflicts head-on, there are some situations where avoidance can be appropriate. Know when to make an exception.
1. Set priorities. Starting out with small steps can help you make progress, but there are some issues trivial enough to overlook. It’s okay to forgive another shopper who brings one too many cans of cat food into the express lane.
2. Cool down. Distinguish between avoiding conflict and taking a strategic pause. Give yourself and others a few minutes to calm down rather than say something you’ll regret.
3. Seek support. Maybe someone other than yourself is more suited to resolving the conflict, such as the police or a coworker’s supervisor. There may also be occasions when you need a mediator or other third party to help reach an accord.
4. Prepare for consequences. Sometimes the stakes are be too high even if you have a valid argument. You may need to stay silent temporarily if your boss is likely to terminate you for objecting to forced overtime.
Conflicts are a natural and potentially beneficial part of any relationship. By building your confidence and strengthening your communication skills you can learn to express your true feelings, collaborate with others, and resolve disagreements.
Related Reading: Comprehensive Self development online guide
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