Assertiveness – It Takes Practice!
Who likes to have a conversation with someone where they are essentially telling the person they are disappointed in their behavior and need them to make a change? Ummm…not very many people. Regardless of how awkward or uncomfortable this can be, being able (and willing) to do so is ridiculously important.
Step 1: I like to begin with “empathizing”; which, basically, means – start the conversation by acknowledging the humanity of the person you are talking to. Examples of beginning with empathy can go something like: “I know you have a lot on your plate, right now…” or, “I know you would never intentionally try to hurt/burden me…”
Step 2: I’m of the camp that believes that identifying the problem is best done through using kind, clear and firm language. An example of this can go something like, “When you tell me you are going to meet at seven and arrive at 7:30, it sends the message that my time isn’t very valuable to you.”
Step 3: Making a suggestion of what you’d like to see happen moving forward is really helpful. This can go something like – “It would mean a lot to me if you could arrive at the time you committed to, or just tell me you’ll be here a little later.” That said, it’s perfectly fine to say you aren’t sure what to suggest but want to come up with a solution together, if that’s the honest truth!
Regardless, not using our voice in our most important relationships (romantic, familial, social, occupational, etc.) is one of the quickest ways for a toxic environment to begin to thrive! I would love to hear any other techniques you all utilize when assertively communicating with your most important people in your life!