Communicating Assertively

Communicating Assertively

The way you speak, the words you use, reflect your level of assertiveness. Learn how to communicate assertively.

The following are suggestions regarding the language of assertiveness.

  • "I" statements:
    I think...
    I feel...
    I want...
  • Statements of Personal Reference and Personal Meaning:
    "This is the way I see it"
    "In my opinion..."
    "This is how I feel"
    "This is what it means to me"
  • Statements of Request:
    "I" want...
    "I" need...
  • Statements offering compromise:
    "I" would like this...
    What would you like?
    "I" think...What do you think?
    "What would be an acceptable compromise?"
    "Can we work this out--What time is agreeable to you?"
  • Asking for time:
    "I'd like to discuss this in an hour"
    Taking time to think, know what you want to be different,
    thinking of compromise, etc.
  • Asking for clarification--instead of ASSUMING.
  • AVOID demanding and blaming statements:
    You make me...
    You think...
    You should/shouldn't...
    It's your fault...
    Don't you think...
    If only you would...

Specific Verbal Skills

  • "I" think statements
  • Broken record--repeating what you want, persistence
  • Acknowledge what other is saying, then repeat your view, opinion, need, etc.
  • Provide feedback--respond to what other person is saying

Language Formula

  • I feel--state your feeling
  • When (describe behavior)
  • Because (concrete effect or consequence on your situation)
  • I'd prefer (offer compromise)

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, January 6). Communicating Assertively, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, November 28 from

Last Updated: June 7, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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