Assertive communication can be thought of as standing up for your own rights without violating the rights of others. This allows one to effectively express opinions, needs, and feelings. Assertiveness can be the solution for fear, shyness or passivity. Assertive communication may include: making requests or asking for favors, showing positive emotions and giving compliments, expressing negative emotions, sharing feelings or opinions with others, initiating or maintaining conversation, and addressing minor irritations before they develop into something bigger.

4 steps to building Assertiveness:
1. Realize where changes are needed and believe in your rights: keep a journal or ask for the input of a counselor or friend.
2. Determine appropriate ways to assert yourself in specific situations of concern: discuss the problem with a counselor, note how others respond in similar situations.
3. Practice giving assertive responses: role play your responses with a friend or counselor.
4. Try being assertive in real life: start with easier less stressful situations first.
*Be clear and direct, using “I” statements
“I would like you to give me a refund”
*Describe how another person’s behavior makes you feel
“I get confused when you don’t tell me what you are feeling”
*Stick to your guns–the broken record technique
“I’ve heard what you have said, but I still want a refund”
5. Body language is important: stand up straight, look people in the eye and relax. Use a firm but pleasant tone.
6. Be careful to not assume you know the other person’s motives. Try to understand the other person’s point of view.