How can we start to be more assertive?

When you start, it can be helpful to practise and explore what all three communication styles feel like. You can do this by having a conversation about something ‘benign’ with a friend or someone you are close to. For example, you could have a conversation about your favourite vegetable!

When you have the conversation, try out being passive, aggressive and assertive and think about how it feels to act that way. You can also ask your friend to change their communication style, and see how it feels for someone to communicate with you in that way.

You can then start to think about what difference it could make to practise being assertive in the more difficult, or important conversations in your life with friends, family, healthcare professionals or others.

If you want to read more about different assertiveness skills, such as how to “say no”, or deal with “criticism”, you can find some self-help guides below which talk about different ways of responding in these situations: