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How to Be Assertive

Tips to Help You Be Assertive


Updated August 11, 2013

Learning how to be assertive is an important tool for those with social anxiety. Assertive communication is a way of honestly expressing your thoughts and feelings while still considering the needs of others.

Assertive statements generally begin with the word "I" and directly express what you are thinking or feeling. Notice that being assertive does not mean stepping on the toes of others or berating them. The goal of being assertive is to negotiate social situations in a way that benefits everyone.

Some examples of assertive statements:

  • "I enjoyed talking with you."

  • "I like to watch horror movies."

  • "I feel hurt that you talked about me behind my back."

  • "I know that the children come first, but I feel sad that we don't spend any time alone."

The next time that you are feeling angry or resentful, consider how you are communicating. If you suffer with social anxiety disorder (SAD), you probably have developed a passive communication style. By learning to be more assertive, you will reduce anxiety and improve your relationships with others.


Markway BG, Carmin CN, Pollard CA, Flynn T. Dying of Embarassment: Help for Social Anxiety & Phobia. Oakland, CA: Harbinger; 1992.

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