Understanding Basic Assertiveness Techniques

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• There are many ways to assert your own boundaries and limits without encroaching on others’. Try the stuck record technique (calmly repeating your limit without budging), the “positive no” (reiterate what you are saying yes to) negative assertion or negative enquiry (accepting and enquiring about criticism).

• The DESC model can help you stand up for yourself. Describe the facts of the situation, Express how you are being affected, suggest a specific Solution, then finish with a Conclusion/consequences, i.e. what will happen if the behavior is changed and what will happen if it isn’t.

• Humor is useful, but it needs to be the right kind. Positive humor styles (especially affiliative humor) are better for relationships. Avoid self-enhancing, aggressive or self-defeating humor styles.

• Use the platinum rule: Do unto others as they would want done to them. Listen, be empathetic and stay curious about other people’s perspectives, even and especially if they differ from yours. Ask what they want and need, and how they conceptualize of you, themselves, and the situation.

• A good apology needs a few necessary elements: expression of regret, explanation of what went wrong, taking responsibility, repentance, offer for reparations, and a request for forgiveness.

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