How To Be More Assertive
In this world, kindness and compassion are often hard to come by but you still get some people who are a little too nice. While this is a commendable quality to have and you should never lose your kind and thoughtful traits, there are some situations where being too nice can really affect your safety. This is when being more assertive will benefit you.
Have you ever been in a situation where you’re uncomfortable and unhappy but you feel too timid or shy to change the situation you’re in?
When is being too nice not okay
When you’re out and having a good time with friends or even if you’re at a shop running errands, if you find yourself in a risky situation, you need to do something.
There are some situations that warrant your kind nature but when you find someone is being too pushy or has invaded your space, there is no need to be passive. Most of the time in these cases, if you do not stand your ground and make it clear that you don’t appreciate the advances, the attention or you just need some space, something far worse can take place.
Criminals prey on those they deem as weak and vulnerable and if you make yourself appear that way, you run the risk of being preyed up. “Niceness” can make you an easier target to be taken advantage of, controlled, and even emotionally, physically and sexually abused. It can also prevent you from standing up for yourself, even in situations that aren’t very dangerous.
Why do we feel we need to be nice?
Sometimes we’re more concerned with what others think of us than what we think of ourselves. We’re more worried about making someone feel bad or causing a scene than we are with asserting ourselves.
Often, we’re even more concerned about giving people the benefit of the doubt and thinking their intentions may not be impure rather trusting our own perceptions.
This is something that is ingrained in many of us. Rather be polite than have to deal with confrontation but eventually (or sooner rather than later) this is going to a detriment to your safety. It might be time to learn to be a little more assertive and how to do it without feeling bad.
How to be more assertive
There is no such thing as being ‘too rude’ when your life is in potential danger. If you’re uncomfortable or feel like someone has invaded your personal space, you should:
Stand tall and with confidence
Tell them how you feel and assert yourself
If the situation does not change, remove yourself
This might be easier said than done, for many people, this is more difficult than it sounds. What we suggest is trying to remain cognisant of the fact that you will probably never see this person again (if they’re a stranger) or if they’re someone you know, consider whether or not this is someone you actually need in your life.
You should never feel like you HAVE to stay in any situation, you shouldn’t worry about appearing rude or impolite – your personal safety comes first!
Being assertive shows that you respect yourself because you’re willing to stand up for your interests and express your thoughts and feelings. You’re telling yourself and the person threatening your safety that you matter and you will not accept how you’re being treated. Always keep in mind that creating a scene is always a deterrent and appearing confident will keep potential predators at bay anyway.
How to deliver your message the correct way
Remember, it’s not just what you say but also how you say it that’s important.
Assertive communication is direct, clear and can be stern. If you communicate in a way that’s too passive, your message may get lost because people will underestimate your seriousness or find it easy to walk over you.
Our top tips would be for you to:
Keep your emotions in check:
Being overly emotional, crying or panicking can take away from the message you’re delivering. You have every right to be stern and even raise your voice if necessary (this will garner some attention) but try and remain in control of the situation.
Do not show that you are scared or intimidated, remain calm on the outside, be serious in what you have to say and make yourself heard without compromising yourself.
2. Use body language:
Your body language says everything. By simply turning your back to the situation/person and keeping your stance even, your back and shoulders upright, you immediately appear more confident and in control. If this doesn’t deter the person, remove yourself from the situation. Under no circumstances do you need to stay somewhere or with someone who is threatening your safety and security.
Becoming more assertive can be difficult but it can really add to your safety. It might seem like ‘no big deal’ but being too nice can land you in situations you never intended to be in. If your safety and security is something of concern to you, if you need a risk assessment or if you require some advice on how to increase your security, we’re always here.