How To Be Assertive without Being Rude (9 Tips)

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How To Be Assertive without Being Rude | Oooof. Communicating our thoughts and needs in a direct and honest way is important (and essential) to successful personal and work relationships, but knowing how to do it tactfully without hurting someone's feelings or sounding impolite is a skill not everyone has. If you want to improve your communication skills so you can stand up for yourself and take up space at work, at home, and in group settings, this post is a great place to start.

Being assertive is an amazing quality to have. It ensures you don’t get walked all over and that you confidently express your feelings and needs. When you’re assertive you speak up for yourself and what you believe in. It’s a great communication skill to have and can help you solve problems with little to no conflict. However, sometimes the line between being assertive and rude can get blurred, so striking the right balance is key. Whether you need to be more assertive at work or in your relationships, here’s how to be assertive without being rude.

How To Be Assertive without Being Rude (9 Tips)

1. Start with Self Reflection
It’s important to understand your communication style to figure out what changes you need to make. Do you typically voice your opinions or remain silent? Do you say yes to things even if you’re rundown and your schedule is full? Are you quick to judge or blame? Do your friends or colleagues seem scared to talk to you? Once you know your style you can figure out the things you need to do to become more assertive.

2. Use “I” Statements
Using “I” statements such as “I think” or “I don’t agree” lets people know what you’re thinking or feeling without sounding accusatory. It sounds harsher to say things like “you’re wrong” or “you need to do this”. Putting the emphasis on your own needs helps you set boundaries while avoiding judgment of the other person and triggering their defensiveness. For example, instead of saying “you’re so bad at communicating”, try “I need more communication.”

3. Speak Calmly
Assertiveness is not the same as conflict. You don’t need to go into a conversation heated, so if you feel angry or frustrated, wait a bit to have the conversation if possible. Although these feelings are normal, they can get in the way of solving conflict and make you say things you otherwise wouldn’t say. Work on remaining calm, breathe slowly, and keep your voice even and firm.

4. Know Your Boundaries
There is a fine line where you can enter into rudeness if you’re not careful. Know what you’re willing to do or say, or what it would mean to go too far. If you know your boundaries, you won’t be confused or try to search for them in the middle of a conversation.

A boundary should be something you’ll do instead of something they do. For example, let’s say it bothers you that your aunt always asks you when you’re going to have kids. If she asks once, you can kindly tell her to stop. If she doesn’t stop talking about you having babies, you can remove yourself from the conversation (whether in person or on the phone).

5. Use Positive Body Language
Body language is just as important as the words you use when it comes to being assertive. It’s an essential part of communication. If you want to be decisive but not rude, positive body language is key. Act confident, use open posture, maintain good eye contact, and have a neutral or positive facial expression to convey openness and friendliness. And don’t cross your arms. Practice assertive body language in front of a mirror or with a friend.

6. Practice Saying No
Some people have a really hard time saying no, mostly because they don’t want to sound rude. But saying no is essential for setting boundaries and being happy. If you find it difficult turning down requests, practice saying no. Try phrases like “No, I can’t do that right now” or “No, that won’t work for me”. Remember, you don’t need to give an explanation as to why you’re saying no. If you feel an explanation is appropriate, be sure to keep it brief.

7. Be Straightforward
It can be difficult to tell someone what you really want or need, especially if people are used to you being nice and accommodating. You may think it seems rude to say what you actually feel, but it’s not. Sugarcoating it will make you seem passive or flexible, but too much flexibility can interfere with your boundaries.

For example, if you want your partner to come home after work instead of going out drinking with their friends all the time, try saying “I’d really like for you to come home after work so we can spend some quality time together” rather than “Do you think it would be okay to come home after work? But only if you want to, I don’t mind either way.” Being straightforward will help you get your way without having to argue.

8. Offer Solutions
Instead of dwelling on the problem, it can be helpful to come to the other person with solutions. Along with pointing out issues, offer potential solutions or suggestions for solving the problem. This shows your willingness to find common ground and illustrates constructive intent. It shows you’re committed to finding a solution rather than dwelling on the negatives. It doesn’t put all the onus on others to come up with the answers, which will make them more open to your feedback.

9. Don’t Apologize
When you’re assertive, you take ownership of your feelings and needs and you feel justified in having them. Don’t preface your point or question by saying things like “I’m so sorry, but…” or “Sorry if this is too much to ask, but…” Being apologetic will make you seem less assertive and less sure of what you want. You don’t have to demand things, but don’t apologize for asking for what you need.

We hope you liked these tips on how to be more assertive. Use them in your day to day life to speak up for yourself and get what you deserve!

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How To Be Assertive without Being Rude | Oooof. Communicating our thoughts and needs in a direct and honest way is important (and essential) to successful personal and work relationships, but knowing how to do it tactfully without hurting someone's feelings or sounding impolite is a skill not everyone has. If you want to improve your communication skills so you can stand up for yourself and take up space at work, at home, and in group settings, this post is a great place to start.

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