Though we may naturally lean towards one style of communication, it doesn’t mean that we cannot learn how to become an assertive communicator. Begin practicing by utilizing the following tools:
Practice saying “no.” This can be a complete sentence, and does not require qualifiers. Start small, and build up to bigger “no’s.” This is a powerful practice to protect your energy.
Shift ownership of the problem by using “I” statements. Others may be naturally reactive if we place blame on them. By shifting the ownership of the problem to ourselves, we can communicate our needs while helping the other person be a part of the solution.
Prepare ahead of time. Plan out how you’ll ask for support, anticipate questions and objections, and consider potential compromises. Use this formula when practicing: I feel ________ when _______and I need _______. It will help ___________.
Be specific and non judgemental. Share actionable steps the other person can take to support you, and avoid blaming language that will put them on the defensive.
Still a little nervous about expressing your needs with assertive communication? Start today! Say “no” to something you might usually say “yes” to out of guilt or a desire to please someone else. Ask your partner to support your early alcohol-free life by removing the alcohol from your house. You’ll soon see what a powerful practice this is for your path.