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to those who are really assertive, how did you get like that?

(37 Posts)
Gemzooks Fri 11-Jul-08 22:28:44

I really want to be more assertive and dare to say what I mean. those of you who are genuinely really assertive, how do you do it?

theboob Fri 11-Jul-08 22:30:01

i was sent on a course in high school to teach me how to be more assertive,it worked for me,but was years ago smile

DivaSkyChick Fri 11-Jul-08 22:36:45

I realized that no one can read my mind so if I want something, I have to tell them.

Also, I drink lots of coffee!

PeaMcLean Fri 11-Jul-08 22:39:34

There's no easy MN answer I don't think, I'd suggest a course too. I come across as assertive but that's because I'm naturally a bit arsey as well. It helps to be confident that you're right - which can take some getting used to. Is it your relationship with one particular person where you need to be more assertive?

janeite Fri 11-Jul-08 22:40:51

I became a secondary teacher in an inner-city school!

PeaMcLean Fri 11-Jul-08 22:44:10

And basically cos you have every right to say how you feel.

babyelephant Fri 11-Jul-08 22:44:26

I am completely assertive with strangers and am totally confident in speaking my mind, however I am weaker with people I know, resulting in being a wibbling jelly with those closest to me!

I think some people are just born assertive (lucky them), others have to watch/learn/go on courses etc. I was brought up to be subservient to my parents and grandparents but taught to be assertive in life, which is why I'm a funny mix. I never thought of that before!

Anyway, there are a few things I find handy when faced with a situation calling for assertiveness:

Always remember you will probably never see them again. This never fails to make me braver.

Decide what you want/think and stick to it.

Think of people you know who you admire for their assertiveness, and imagine "being" them in the situation. What would they do/say etc.

You can almost always buy yourself time to decide. Have a few stock phrases to hand eg "I'll come back to you on that" or "I'll check my diary before I commit" etc.

Never apologise unless you have actually done wrong. Simple but true!!!!

(babyelephant rumbles off to Google "Assertiveness with Non-Strangers" courses)hmm

Gemzooks Fri 11-Jul-08 22:45:26

I can be very assertive in, for example, telling someone to get up and give an old lady a seat. But I'll do anything to avoid conflict, like have childminder for one hour too much because I don't want to have to tell her to reduce the hours, that kind of thing..

PeaMcLean Fri 11-Jul-08 22:51:32

I know just what you mean about avoiding conflict, I'm still a bit of a wuss for it at work, tbh. Most people are like that to a certain extent, we like to be nice. But if you've got something to do, you just need to steel yourself and say it's what you need to do.

That's no use as advice I know grin


I'll join you grin

justhavingamoan Fri 11-Jul-08 22:53:04

i was in a bad relationship and came out fighting. been assertive since.

babyelephant Fri 11-Jul-08 22:59:02

Sounds like the sort of thing I would worry over too, Gemzooks.

Last year whilst abroad I fended off two aggressive sellers who were very menacing (seriously) in a very poor part of the world because I didn't want the goods. I had no problem firmly saying "No thank you. I don't wish to buy your goods". even though it was pretty scary and would have been easier to just buy, given the area/muggings/crime rate/no guides around etc etc.


My biggest area of weakness is if someone treads on my toes and is disrespectful by action ie flirting with my DH in front of me (this has happened) or deliberately taking the mickey ie consistently late without an apology, borrowing money never paid back, always expecting me to pay for coffee & cake when out etc etc.

For example I always now avoid going shopping with a particular "friend" as she follows me round closely, asking all the time what I like and what I don't, then when I find something I like, friend will say "How pretty! I like that!", pick it up, try it on first to "claim" it and then announce she is buying it. In a nanosecond. Therefore I look damn petty if I say "I saw it first!?!" , like a whiny 5yo.

See what I mean?

OomphreyCushion Fri 11-Jul-08 22:59:31

Battling with the LEA for a few years makes you assertive.
Dealing with people who pretend to care for your children whilst simultaneously treating them like crap tends to bring you out of yourself.

I used to be quiet, unassuming and madly inoffensive.

Now nobody gets away with taking the piss.
And I have developed a healthy disdain of officialdom.

I am perfectly polite (most of the time), I am calm, but I make my point - and I write excellent letters of complaint. grin

babyelephant Fri 11-Jul-08 23:05:18

Oomphrey, firstly good on you for what you do for your DCs. Do you find you can be like that with everyone? People who are taking liberties with you personally not your children iyswim? If you had a friend who upset you, could you deal with them just as effectively or would it be harder?

OomphreyCushion Fri 11-Jul-08 23:21:32

No, I find it easy to be calm and polite, but clearly state my position with everyone nowadays.
In fact, it's a lot less stressful than the passive aggression that I sometimes resorted to in the past. smile

Flibbertyjibbet Fri 11-Jul-08 23:38:02

I'm another one who came out of a bad relationship fighting and although for the first couple of years after I was downright agressive, I am nice and calm and assertive now.

(bit passive agressive with the inlaws though as they all gang up on me if I am assertive with them [passive agressive face emoticon])

bikermom Fri 11-Jul-08 23:44:51

Life moulded me!

Flibbertyjibbet Fri 11-Jul-08 23:48:58

Forgot half my post...

Years ago if someone asked if I would do something (like the single mum friend of mine who sat about smoking dope all day while her son was at school but had a cash in hand job on a sat - I worked full time long hours and she would just assume that childless me would come and pick her son up at 8am, take him to mine, feed and entertain him all day (oh just rent him some videos and take him to macdonalds) till 6pm at MY expense, then take him back to hers - and she lived TEN FARKING MILES AWAY), I would start to make excuses why I couldn't. When you make excuses the other person can give counter arguments and then you have to make more excuses and the other more assertive person keeps telling you what you should do to remove that excuse.

And you end up in passive agressive hell.

I can't have your son on sat because i want to go clothes shopping on my day off.
Oh he loves going shopping.
But I want to go to my sisters later to see her and the children
Oh he loves babies
But I don't know how to entertain 5 year old boys
Oh just get some videos and I'll put some of his toys in a bag
But I'll be out getting pissed on Fri and want a lie in and hangover time
Well you can come and get him, plonk him in front of a video and then go back to bed for a bit

etc etc

The trick is not to give any REASONS why you can't do something, then they can't chip holes in your argument.

Sorry I can't do that on Saturday I've already got something on, you'll have to make other arrangements.

You have to say it assertively and in a manner that makes it clear that what you are saying is not up for discussion.

Funny thing is as soon as I started standing up to my so called friend she didn't want to know me anymore.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sat 12-Jul-08 02:47:24

As a teenager, I found this book quite useful. But the best thing is to just pretend you're confident, so that you act like you're confident, so other people think that you're confident, and treat you accordingly, thereby proving that you're confident... grin

Honestly, it's all bollox. Every one of us is a quivering mass of terror, whether that's under designer clothing or the chavviest of chavscum outfit.

Even [insert your figure of greatest achievement/glamour/authority/whatever] is a scaredy cat in real life.

S1ur Sat 12-Jul-08 02:54:28

With friends/employees that sort of polite and it matters situation.

I have learnt ways of saying the right things, being understanding but firm and polite and friendly. I learnt from better friends I think.

It still makes my heart flutter sometimes but it is better than alternatives (including ranting at home to do blush)

alipiggie Sat 12-Jul-08 03:25:15

I did a Dale Carnegie Course about Assertive Speaking. It was brilliant and I worked in a predominantly male work of IT for many year. Many more women in it now since I've returned to work.

mylittlepudding Sat 12-Jul-08 08:46:31

Another one who comes off just fine at work and when it comes to dd, but a wreck when it comes to myself. That said, the "how would an assertive person act?" does work pretty well. My parents, long seperated but still manipulative, continue to walk all over me, sadly.

loopylou6 Sat 12-Jul-08 10:47:30

because im a hardfaced cow by nature grin

susia Thu 17-Jul-08 00:14:54

I am assertive, I've always been that way and wish I wasn't sometimes. It's the way I am. I say what I think and if I'm annoyed I will say something. But although it means I don't get walked all over, I come across as too blunt and sometimes upset people. So it's not always good to be assertive. (Some people have said I am scary even)

ninah Thu 17-Jul-08 00:18:09

old age

Amphibimum Thu 17-Jul-08 00:20:45

well, im not that assertive. unless im not being listened to, that is wink

my mum sat me down and yelled at me for ages when i was about 12. i sat there doing my 'agree to everything to get away quickly' routine and she yelled at me some more for not standing up formyself. told me i needed to be more assertive.
so i got more assertive.

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