How to be assertive when you are an anxious person




First off, what is assertiveness? How come it gets a whole blog post to itself?

Being assertive is about being strong in what you believe, not being at everybody’s beck and call, being kind to yourself.

Try these techniques:


  • Start boring: Be assertive about small things. Don’t change your plans because someone else dropped a bollock – it’s perfectly reasonable to say ‘no, I won’t cook for the 6th time this week.’


  • Write it out: Making it physical means you are less likely to miss bits out or chicken out in the first place.


  • Dress for assertiveness: Power dressing with rock stance. You got it.


  • Mantra: Make it simple like ‘my way’ or more involved like ‘I am in control of what I do’.


  • Commitment-phobe: Give yourself a get out clause. This is not necessarily “assertive”, but it helps as a stepping stone, making the final ‘no’ easier. If you are not overly thrilled with an invitation, say ‘it’s highly likely I won’t be able to’. This isn’t a direct ‘no’, which can be an anxiety-trigger, but it sets a precedent that you don’t expect to be there.


  • Positive: Don’t apologise – if you found it difficult to be assertive, say so! Say ‘Thank you for understanding’, not ‘Sorry’.


  • Resistance is futile: Be ready for resistance. If people perceive you to be a passive person, they will not expect an assertive stance. They won’t like this change when it means they won’t get their own way. Steel yourself against this.


  • Be sure: Know what you want to get out of the situation. What small outcomes do you this reasonable?


  • Be double sure: First understand why you are choosing to be assertive. What is it in the situation that you cannot accept? Write a pro/con list to get it clear in your head.


  • Be calm: Use statements that cannot be argued against and do not target the other person. Use phrases like ‘I feel that’ and ‘I am choosing not to do this because’…


You got it!


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