Being assertive can be misconstrued as confrontational, but they are different. Confrontational would imply that you are defensive and emotional. To be assertive would indicate that you are able to set boundaries, have no hidden agendas, and are confident in getting your point across in a constructive way without offending anyone in the process.
Clearly outline what you need.
Use statements that start with “I” and stick to what the request entails to communicate to the the person you are speaking with. Adding insults or jabs to get your point across can take away from the validity of the proposal. Engage the other person with straightforwardness of clear, precise directions to garner positive results in getting your needs met.
Substantiate the other person.
Let others have their own personal viewpoint. It does not mean that you agree entirely with their perspective, but it does go a long way with to comprehend what their opinion is. You do not have to necessarily speak back verbatim what they just said to you to let them know you got it. Just pick a few keywords to let them know that you understand the essence of their position so your intention is to acknowledge them (which is assertive) instead of making them conform to your outlook (which is confrontational).
Be a good listener.
Wait until the other person finishes speaking before you begin to chime in. Try to make a concerted effort to listen to them instead of immediately conjuring up what profound statement you want to say in response to them. Do not interrupt or cut off their statement so that you can talk. The art of good listening skills has been long lost with social media and the hustle and bustle of life. Patiently waiting to speak in your turn will go a long way in getting your point across, as well as, showing respect for the individual you are conversing with.
Collaborate with the other person.
Trying to take control over a situation can give the impression that you do not think anyone else is as good as you are. Being on the same plane as the other person will show that you are more easygoing. Taking over a situation for another person instead of collaborating with them may come off as passive-aggressive. You are showing them that you need to be in charge and could careless of what they think of the matter.
How you present yourself is important in how you come across to others. Laid back body language, keeping your emotions in line, and eye contact can also make a difference in whether you are perceived as assertive rather confrontational.
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