Assertiveness Skills: Step One
1. Be Factual About What You Don't Like
When approaching someone about a behavior you’d like to see changed, stick to factual descriptions of what they’ve done, rather than using negative labels or words that convey judgments. For example:
Situation: Your friend, who habitually runs late, has shown up 20 minutes late for a lunch date.
Inappropriate (aggressive) response: "You’re so rude! You’re always late."
Assertive communication: "We were supposed to meet at 11:30, but now it’s 11:50."
Don’t assume you know what the other person’s motives are, especially if you think they’re negative. In this situation, don't assume that your friend deliberately arrived late because they didn't want to come or because they value their own time more than yours.