Healthy Communication

Assertiveness is a communication style in which a person stands up for their own needs and beliefs, while also respecting the needs of others. Assertive communication is defined by mutual respect, diplomacy, and directness.

Our Assertive Communication worksheet includes one page of psychoeducation, and a second page of practice exercises, that will help you learn to use assertive communication in their own lives.

Respect Yourself

Your needs, wants, and rights are as important as anyone else's. It's fine to express what you want, so long as you are respectful towards the rights of others.

Express Your Thoughts and Feelings Calmly

Giving the silent treatment, yelling, threatening, and shaming are all great examples of what not to do. Take responsibility for your emotions, and express them in a calm and factual manner. Try starting sentences with "I feel..."

Plan What Your Going To Say

Know your wants and needs, and how you can express them, before entering a conversation. Come up with specific sentences and words you can use. 

Say "no" when you need to.

You can't make everyone happy all the time. When you need to say "no", do so clearly, without lying about the reasons. Offer to help find another solution.

Examples of Assertive Communication

1. I've been feeling frustrated about doing most of the chores around the house. I understand that you're busy, but I need help. How can we make this work?"

  • The speaker takes responsibility for their feelings without blaming, and clearly describes their needs.

2. "I won't be able to take you to the airport on Friday. I've had a long week, and I want to rest."

  • The speaker respects their own needs and want by clearly saying "no."

3. "I'm having a hard time sleeping when your music is on. What if you use headphones, or I can help you move the speakers to another room."

  • The speaker describes their needs, while also considering the needs and want of the other person.

Instructions: Respond to the following questions as if you were really in each situation. Think about the language you would use to firmly state your boundary.

1. Spouse-"I know you have plans for the weekend, but I really need you to watch the kids. I have a friend coming to town, and we made plans."

2. Situation-You've just received your food at a restaurant, and it was prepared incorrectly. Your sandwich seems to have extra mayo, instead of no mayo.

3. Friend-"Hey, can I borrow some money? I want to buy these shoes, but I left my wallet at home. I'll pay you back soon, I swear. It won't be like last time."

4. Situation-Your neighbor is adding an expansion to their house, and the crew starts working, very loudly, at 5am. It has woken you up every day for a week.

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