What is assertiveness? From Wikipedia – “Assertiveness is a particular mode of communication. Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defines assertiveness as: a form of behavior characterized by a confident declaration or affirmation of a statement without need of proof; this affirms the person’s rights or point of view without either aggressively threatening the rights of another (assuming a position of dominance) or submissively permitting another to ignore or deny one’s rights or point of view.”
Okay so to break that down it simply means not to let anyone walk all over you without being pushy about it. While it might be a topic for another day on being pushy and rude to assert yourself this article is about why anyone would need to be assertive and how not to assert yourself. So what happens when you’re properly assertive? You get what you want more or at least give it a better chance of happening. The idea is to let people know what you want and not apologize for it.
Here at ‘Monday’ we don’t really want to do that. We would like to be our sheepish selves, content to follow the flock wherever it goes even if it means in the jaws of a waiting wolf. Not that we want to be eaten (figuratively and literally) but rather we would rather not push it. Remember we’re easy-going to a fault here. If that means not ever getting what we want because we didn’t speak up, then so-be-it. The important thing is we didn’t ruffle any feathers or muss any hair.
Don’t be specific. When you talk assertively you want to be direct or specific in what you want or need. So in order to avoid being assertive you want to be vague and not very clear. Don’t own the conversation, don’t use the personalized ‘I’. ‘I’ statements show assertiveness because you’re telling the other person from your point of view. Don’t ask for feedback because this will clarify things and show them you’re expressing a desire, or feeling, or opinion. Don’t keep eye contact because that makes you more in control. Make sure your voice is soft so they don’t feel like you’re trying to assert your position. These are just a few tips, and there are more but maybe I’ll explore it in a later article.
So remember we don’t want to be assertive, our wants are your wants.