Student Life

Counselling and Personal Development

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Assert yourself

What is assertiveness?

Being assertive means that when you talk to others you are:

  • polite / respectful
  • direct
  • honest
  • persistent.

This sounds simple but it can be difficult when you are confronted with strong feelings as you are trying to be assertive. If you want to be assertive in difficult situations and relationships, start by taking small steps towards being assertive.

 Quick tips

  • Know your rights
  • learn to say ‘No’ or ask for time to think through a request (this buys you time and stops you from automatically saying ‘Yes’ and later regretting it)
  • use ‘I’ statements e.g. when you do…, I feel…, I would prefer if you didn’t do that again
  • use the ‘broken record’ technique (repeating an earlier comment in a calm and unwavering voice)
  • role play being assertive with people with whom you get on well with – it is a skill that needs to be learnt and practised
  • don't give up when it doesn't seem to be working (take a break and come back to the issue at another time)
  • choose your battles (know when to speak up and when to shut up).

Taking it further

Getting help

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17th March 2011