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The University of Texas at Austin - What Starts Here Changes The World The University of Texas at Austin Division of Student Affairs

Learning to Be Assertive

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  1. Basic Assertion
    • A simple, straightforward expression of your beliefs, feelings, or opinions
    • Usually a simple "I want" or "I feel" statement
  2. Empathic Assertion
    • Conveys some sensitivity to the other person.
    • Usually contains two parts: a recognition of the other person's situation or feelings, followed by a statement in which you stand up for your rights.
      For example, "I know you've really been busy. I've been busy too, and it's hard for me to clean the apartment on my own. I'd like for you to make more time to do part of the cleaning."
  3. Escalating Assertion
    • Occurs when the other person fails to respond to your basic assertions, and you become increasingly firm
    • May include the mention of resulting action on your part
      For example, "If you don't complete the work on my car by 5:00 tomorrow, I will call the Better Business Bureau."
  4. I - Language Assertion
  5. Especially useful for expressing negative feelings. It involves a 3-part statement:
    When you do . . . (describe the behavior).
    The effects are/I feel . . . (describe how the behavior affects you).
    I'd prefer/I want. . . (describe what you want).
    For example: "When you didn't buy the groceries, I couldn't cook dinner for my parents. I feel hurt and angry with you. Next time, I'd like you to follow through when you agree to do something."
  6. The focus in I-Language Assertion is on the "I feel," "I want" part of the statement, rather than on blaming the other person
  7. I-Language Assertion can help you constructively focus anger and be clear about your own feelings

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