Example of Assertive communication

Assertive is right in the middle. While many arguments/statements are very much dependent on the context, here is a helpful tip to make assertive statements: 

Describe what is happening with just the facts (no judging or blaming) 

+ express your honest feelings without give blaming 

+ Be as specific as possible so that people act on what you are asking 

+ state consequences and payoff for both you and listeners

Example: I’ve been working hard over the last few weeks on my recovery, and I’ve learnt a few things that I really need to stay sober. I am really grateful for how supportive you are, and I know that you want me to get better too. It’s really hard for me to admit but I feel really vulnerable when I’m around alcohol. When I see people drinking, I get these strong cravings, and I fear I might relapse. I really need your help. Would you consider not storing alcohol at home for the time being, while I work on my skills and get better?

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • As much as we want other people listen to us carefully, we should show the same level of respect. So, when they talk, we should listen carefully. Good ways to engage include making eye contact, asking questions and staying away from distraction such as cellphones, TVs

  • Have a calm and peaceful conversation with your loved ones. Tell them how you feel, ask them to not bring up bad experiences from the past (if they do), and explain how certain things (arguing, dangling past experiences, and criticizing) could potentially trigger us.

  • Practice assertive communication skills. Envision yourself in a difficult situation and write down what you are going to say and go over it. 

  • Use this formula when practicing: I feel ________ when _______and I need _______. It will help ___________.

  • Remember that it’s everyone has the right to express their feelings. When the communication goes in a way you don’t like, don’t argue. Listen, take a deep breath and restate your points. This might be all that is needed!