How to Be More Assertive in Social Situations

Assertiveness is something that most of us have wanted to work on at some point in our lifetimes. It’s tough to be assertive while also trying to avoid offending those around you. In order to be more assertive in social situations, it is important to understand that there’s a difference between being aggressive and assertive. Being aggressive is being outwardly rude to others when you don’t agree with what is going on, which generally leads to offending them. Alternatively, being assertive is about being honest with others while also respecting their needs and feelings. Being assertive in social situations can really change your life and the way you go about the interactions you have with others. On top of changing your social interactions, being more assertive can make you feel more confident in yourself. 

Working towards being more assertive in your life, especially in social situations, can help you get what you really want out of your relationships. Utilizing your assertive abilities and making assertive decisions improves your self-esteem while also reducing any social stresses you have. Additionally, being more assertive can give you a sense of control in your social life, and you can make the decisions that are best for your future instead of going along with what others' opinions are. 

When most people think about assertiveness, they usually associate it with being overly aggressive or almost rude. Others might interpret an assertive person as someone who is self-involved or wants to control all social situations. In reality, it’s about being less timid and taking steps to make social interactions benefit you. 

There are two kinds habits you can form in order to be more assertive: verbal and non-verbal habits. Verbal habits include your verbal communication style with others and how you approach talking to people. For example, instead of suggesting a point, it is more assertive to use language that clearly gets your point across. Instead of saying “Should we…”, it would be more effective to say “We should…” in order to make your point very clear. The second habit to enhance assertiveness involves non-verbal actions and body language. Body language can say a lot about a person and their intentions in social interactions with others. It’s important to use open and confident body language when speaking to others in order to get your point across. In order to seem confident, you must also appear confident when speaking your mind. If you are acting timid, even if you are verbally being confident about what you want, your point will not be received as seriously. 

In addition to practicing verbal and non-verbal habits, there are also multiple ways to help improve your assertiveness in social interactions. The first being that you should specify your desired outcome and how you want situations to go down in your favor. For example, when thinking about future social situations where you find yourself being stressed out or not heard, make a specific decision about what you want and how you can achieve that goal. Another is learning from criticism and how situations turn out when you are taking assertive actions. For example, if you attempted to be assertive in a situation and it somehow backfired, you can learn from how your actions influenced the outcome. Learning from those outcomes and changing how you handle similar situations can really help you get better at being a more assertive person in social situations. 

Now, go be more assertive and get what you want out of your social interactions. You got this!

Monica and Rachel high-fiving