Do you connect with any of these????

If YES, then your communication style is non assertive/passive. You are unable to express your opinions, your needs, and your thoughts. You are simply giving into people’s wishes, valuing others more than yourself. By not standing up for your rights, you are allowing others to take advantage of you. On the other hand, if your communication style is mostly aggressive, you will miss out on having good relationship with people around. That’s because you will always want your way out in everything; you will not consider or respect others’ views, needs and feelings; listen less and talk more. So people might see you as being selfish, disrespectful.

“The only healthy communication style is Assertive Communication,” quotes Jim Rohn, author, entrepreneur, and  motivational speaker. It is the ability to express your positive and negative ideas and feelings in an honest and direct way. It is speaking up for yourself.

Imagine you are standing in a line to buy movie tickets and someone else just pushes in front of you. An aggressive response could be to grab them by the shoulder and shout at them asking, “What makes you so important that you can’t wait for your turn like the rest of us!”.   This response might give you immediate relief but you will be annoyed and upset and that feeling (anger) will be lingering in your mind for a long time. Whereas an assertive response could be one wherein you tell them in a clear and respectful way, “Excuse me, we have been waiting in the line, so it would be better if you can wait for your turn like the rest of us”.

By being assertive you are respecting your own as well as others rights, you learn to take responsibility for your actions and not get into judging and a blaming others. It does not guarantee that people will follow your words but you will feel good that you expressed your stand in a respectful way.

It is true that we all respond differently (passive, aggressive or assertive) in different situations. For example, you may find it easier to be assertive to your partner than to your boss. However, whether it is going to be easy or not, remember that an assertive response is the best way to communicate, and an essential ingredient for all your relationships


 Read the questions and keep track of how many times you answer YES.

  1. I am confident of meeting new people.
  2. I can say “NO” without feeling worried when I have to.
  3. I can easily ask for help and information from others.
  4. I can accept my mistakes, take responsibility for my actions.
  5. I can freely express my opinions without worrying what others might think.
  6. I can tell others when their behaviour hurt me.
  7. I can express my anger or disappointment without blaming others.
  8. When I am being bullied, I express my discomfort by firmly asking him/her to stop his/her behaviour.
  9. I can speak confidently when in a big group.
  10. While talking with others I allow them to speak and I speak only when it’s my turn.

How many times did you answer ‘YES’?
More than 6: You are assertive and can handle most situations well.
Less than 6: Learning assertive beahaviour skills will boost your score. Keep practising.

To be an assertive communicator, try this:

  • Always state your point of view honestly, TELL the other person how YOU FEEL and remember to LISTEN to what they have to say as well.
  • Use ‘ I’ STATEMENTS like “I Feel”, “I Think”, “I Want” as much as possible, to tell the other person how you feel, rather than be accusing and impolite.
  • SAY NO when you need to. You cannot make everyone happy all the time. You need to learn to say “NO” clearly, without lying about reasons/beating around the bush.
  • PRACTISE as often as possible. Assertiveness is a skill that develops through practice in different situations.

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AUTHOR: Prathima, Associate Counsellor




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