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The skill of assertiveness is required for effective interpersonal relationships. It focuses on confidence in communicating personal needs and wants, while respecting needs and wants of others.

Assertiveness fosters awareness, connection, regulation and flexibility. It is important not only to be aware of our needs, but to be able to effectively communicate these needs while strengthening a relationship.

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Short Practices

Step 1

Know what the specific problem is that you want to change. Know the specific outcomes you desire; do you want more or less of a behavior or action from others, and how do you feel when you do not get this.

Step 2

Prepare to listen, really listen, mindfully to other person's point of view. If we are not listening to them, they won't be able to listen to us and old, ineffective communication patterns dominate the conversation.

Step 3

Use concrete and specific requests, and use "I" statements to get your point across without provoking defensiveness. Assertiveness may seem easy; but stress, emotional upset and isolation can keep us from staying calm and in the moment.

Step 4

You may want to practice what you will say before trying it out… for example "I feel hurt when you do not eat the meals I have prepared for our group, I would like to spend more time eating together, how do you feel about this?"