It doesn’t take a special occasion to make use of assertive communication and behavior. Being assertive is such a useful skill that we can apply it in our everyday lives, with all the people we interact with. Curious to find out what this looks like? We’ve got some examples that apply to business, friends and partners.Being assertive at work
Sometimes we behave over-apologetically in the workplace because we’re afraid to rub someone the wrong way (especially if it’s our boss or someone in leadership). A typical case is saying “sorry” for misunderstanding in a meeting. We are all human, after all, so it’s completely normal to get lost in the details of a project. Rather than apologizing for not quite getting a grasp of the topic yet, it’s more assertive to thank the person for their explanation and simply ask if they could elaborate or repeat so you can fully understand. More often than not, they will be happy to rephrase so that everyone can be on the same page.
Another way to be assertive in a work environment is by saying “no”. Sounds simple enough and yet how many times have you put in extra hours to finish a task that you simply accepted without question? Helping colleagues is all good, but when it gets in the way of your work-life balance or takes you away from your actual job, it pays off to be assertive instead. So why not try first understanding why this colleague needs this from you and how does it bring value to the business? A polite, “I wish I could help, but I have to focus on the priorities of my role” will reassure them that you’re willing to collaborate, while keeping your work on track.Being assertive in social situations
Feeling judged by our friends is something we usually try to avoid, especially if the relationship is fairly new, and we want to make a good impression. However, going with the flow of the group all the time can lead us to situations we don’t enjoy. This could be anything from eating or drinking something you don’t like to getting dragged into the same boring routine every time you get together. In cases like the first, unsurprisingly, saying “no, thank you” will signal your limits to others. For the second, think about what you’d actually like to do next time your friends are talking about seeing each other. Perhaps your group ends up doing the same old thing simply because nobody has suggested differently and a change would be welcomed!Being assertive in relationships
Awkward as it may sound, being assertive when dating is a great way to ensure your expectations are met. Just think about how much heartbreak could be spared if we could all clearly establish what we want with that person we have a connection with. Trying to hide what we truly want to try to please the other person can lead to dating being a negative experience for all involved. For instance, if you expect nothing serious out of dating, let them know your feelings and needs without assuming they may be looking to commit. Having this type of open conversation when you’re getting to know each other makes it easier for everyone to figure out if seeing each other will make you happy.
Let’s not forget about how important it is to also be sexually assertive. Telling your partner (or partners!) what you like and don’t like in bed will make the experience all the more enjoyable for everyone… which is the whole point, isn’t it? While trying not to kill the mood by saying something that reinforces what you want may be possible in some situations (“It’d be really hot for me if you did...”), when something makes you uncomfortable you’re in your right to firmly ask them to stop
Listing all the ways being assertive comes up in everyday life would be impossible, but these should shine some light on it. You can find out more for yourself by starting your quest with Samaṇa
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