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How to Be Assertive: 17 Ways to Speak Your Mind Loud and Clear

Are you tired of always being spoken over? If you want to get your voice across you need to learn how to be assertive. It’s easier than you think! 

how to be assertive

Not everyone is comfortable speaking in a crowd. Some people don’t like speaking out in general. Whether it’s shyness, social anxiety, or simply general discomfort in the situation, feeling unable to express yourself is hard. The good news is that you can overcome such problems with a little work. All you need to do is learn how to be more assertive and make sure that your voice is heard.

Of course, it’s going to take time to build up the confidence to be more assertive, but everyone can do it. The truth is, if you don’t learn how to speak up for yourself, nobody is going to do it for you. [Read: How to stand up for yourself – Get what you want and deserve]

What does it mean to be assertive?

When you learn how to be assertive, you’re making sure that you’re heard. You’re using your confidence to get your point across, in a slightly forceful way. Of course, that forcefulness isn’t ‘in your face’, it’s gentle and self-assured.

A person who can use assertiveness can hold the attention of those around them and can speak up when they need to. They allow their voice to be heard both literally and metaphorically. Their voice is from and strong and they can put the words together to make sure that they’re understood.

There is also an underlying point to being assertive. It means that people take you seriously and don’t pass over what you’re saying. An assertive person isn’t going to be taken for granted, or at least they don’t appreciate it and will make their displeasure known! [Read: 16 reasons why you’re always being taken for granted]

The difference between assertiveness and arrogance

It’s important to know that there’s a very real difference between learning how to be more assertive and being arrogant. You don’t want to be the latter. Arrogance is a total turn off and it means that you’re overly forceful, overly confident, and you push your point into the faces of others with no regard for their feelings or respect for their opinions.

Assertiveness is more of a gentle route. It’s basically saying ‘I know what I want to say and I’m going to make sure that you listen’, but in a way that doesn’t annoy anyone. It’s quiet confidence. When you are assertive, you’re more likely to gain respect. When you’re arrogant, you’re more likely to turn people’s attention away from you.

An arrogant person will shout over the top of people to make themselves heard. An assertive person will quieten the room in a respectful way, so they can speak. [Read: 9 subtle differences between a confident & arrogant man]

How to be assertive – 17 tips to find your voice

As with anything, learning how to be more assertive is a work in progress. Of course, everything’s a lot easier when you know what you should work on.

As we know, there’s a fine line between being assertive and aggressive, and it’s all about balance.

1. Accept it

You’re going to have to accept the fact that you’re not assertive right now. If you’re reading this, you already have a feeling that you need some help. However, now it’s time for you full-on accept it. You’re not assertive. It’s cool, but now you can start to change. You can only move forward when you know what the starting situation is. [Read: How to know if you are being taken advantage of by people around you]

2. Baby steps

Don’t go trying to achieve all these big goals at once, because they’re going to overwhelm you. You need to start with baby steps.

So, start with small goals. It can be as simple as starting to say “no” (more on that shortly) when you don’t want to do something. You probably don’t think that’s hard, but trust us, these small goals can be quite challenging. [Read: How to say no – Stop pleasing people and feel awesome instead]

3. Say “no”

When learning how to be assertive, this is step number one. Most people have a really hard time saying no. They did waste a lot of hours on things they don’t want to do. This step may actually be the hardest one. Why? Because for the first time, you’re trying not to please other people. This is about what you want, not what they want. [Read: Are you a people pleaser? 20 signs most people just don’t see]

4. Don’t you dare feel guilty!

If you say no to something, don’t feel guilty. You didn’t want to do it, so why would you feel bad about it? Listen, you not wanting to go out for dinner is not bringing immense pain to anyone. They will find someone else to go to dinner with them. They will live.

5. Express your wants and needs

If you want to know how to be assertive, people need to know what you want and what you need. If you’re in an unsatisfying relationship, have you told your partner what your needs and wants are? People cannot read your mind, so don’t expect them to know what you want. [Read: How to express your feelings and get your point across the right way]

6. Talk about your feelings

This is another huge issue with people who aren’t assertive. No one knows how you feel because you’re “okay” with everything. No! That’s not how the world works. We know you’re not happy about having to go to your friend’s Pyramid-scheme meeting. However, she didn’t how you felt, so enjoy sitting there for two hours. [Read: How to tell someone how you feel about them & share your feelings]

7. You have to be honest

Honesty really is the best policy, and it’s necessary if you want to know how to be assertive. You need to be honest, not just with the people around you, but with yourself.

Start off by being honest with yourself, and then everything else will fall into place. If you’re not honest with yourself, you won’t be able to be assertive – it’s that simple. [Read: Why you should tell the truth even when it hurts & why it matters]

8. It’s okay to disagree

Not everyone is going to like you. This is what many people have an issue accepting when trying to be assertive. Really, you want everyone to like you. But listen, it’s just not going to happen, and it’s for the best. Imagine if everyone liked you? Gross.

9. Stay calm

There’s a line between being assertive and sounding like an angry, possessive, asshole. You need to know the difference. Stating your feelings and needs is one thing, yelling them and forcing them on others is a different thing. Don’t do the latter. You’re not trying to get people on your side, you’re simply trying to let people know where you stand. [Read: Calm your mind – How to get the inside voices out of your head]

10. Conflict resolution

Assertive people don’t start throwing punches when they don’t get their way. It’s about compromising and using conflict resolution as a way to get through arguments and group issues. This is what makes you a leader as opposed to someone who uses fear to resolve conflict. [Read: 14 calm ways to recognize mean people and deal with them]

11. Look at your body language

You should try standing in front of the mirror and see how you use your body in conversation. Are you positioned aggressively? You may not be verbally aggressive, however, your body language could be giving off completely different vibes. You don’t want that, so try to get them in sync.

12. Use the word “I”

You probably think this sounds narcissistic, but it isn’t. Use the word “I” when you’re talking about yourself. “I need___” or “I want___.” It’s about you, right? So, starting talking like it’s about you. Using “I language” is a necessary part of learning how to be assertive. [Read: How to express your opinions without coming off as cocky]

13. Patience is a virtue

This is going to take a while. Sorry to break the news, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? You’re going to have your ups and downs with this, so it’s important to be patient and calm. You’re going to get to where you need to be … eventually.

14. Set boundaries

Set boundaries for yourself. What kind of behavior do you accept, and what don’t you accept? That way, you’re not wavering when you’re encountering people and certain situations. You know what flies and what doesn’t – and that’s it. [Read: How to build self-confidence – 16 steps to realize you’re so worth it!]

15. Know when you screwed up

You’re going to make mistakes. If you haven’t made any by now, well, you need a reality check. You need to take responsibility when you screw up. That’s what mature, well-rounded people do. They know when they screwed up and they admit it.

You’re not going to get shot by being honest. In fact, people appreciate those who just accept the faults in their actions. [Read: How to stop making the same mistakes in a relationship and learn]

16. You cannot control people

Being assertive is about letting other people hear your thoughts and views. However, it’s not about you shoving your opinions down other people’s throats hoping to change them. This isn’t about them, it’s about you. So just focus on yourself. The only person you can control is you.

17. Pick your battles

Have you ever talked to someone who argues with every little thing you say? If you have, you probably don’t hang out with them anymore. It’s annoying. It’s like watching an eagle that won’t let go of its prey. [Read: How to distance yourself from a friend without a lot of drama]

Pick your battles. It’s important to have boundaries, however, if those boundaries are crossed, decide how you’re going to deal with it. You probably don’t need to have a full-blown fight every time.

Learning how to be assertive takes time. Try these tips and work them into your life. You might need to work through the points one by one and be patient, but eventually, you’ll be more assertive than you’ve ever been before!

[Read: How to improve yourself – 16 powerful secrets of self-improvement]

Now that you have these tips for how to be assertive, start applying them in your day-to-day life. Trust us, once you start saying no and speaking your mind, you’ll feel free.

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Natasha Ivanovic
Natasha Ivanovic is an intimacy, dating, and relationship writer best known for her writings on Kiiroo, LovePanky, Post Pravda, and more. She's the creator and ...
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