5 Ways To Be Assertive Without Being A Bully (There's A Difference!)

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How To Be Assertive Without Being A Bully

We're faced with many choices in the world today. We're all built with the instinct for fight or flight when faced with confrontation.

A bully can gain courage if you don't have to meet in person. Cyberbullying is becoming more and more rampant as people push the "send button" before really thinking through the ramifications of their acts.

Recently, I ran into a situation where I was faced with a rude, nasty response to a birthday greeting I had sent to an acquaintance through Facebook. I hadn't realized the link to the free e-book I normally send to my Facebook friends on their birthday had been changed.

The gentleman in question reacted by sending me a snarky note back, chiding me for sending him marketing material in his birthday greeting.

My initial reaction was to fight back, but I chose to be assertive and apologized for the error, explaining to him that it was unintentional.

Subsequently, he wrote back with another extremely aggressive, rude note. I considered again how to respond. I decided this was the time to act in a more passive way. I did not respond because I knew this argument could go on and one, getting both of us nowhere and causing hurt feelings.

After some contemplation, I decided to take more assertive actions and removed him as a friend on my Facebook account.

Confident people know when and how to be assertive. 

They respect their own boundaries and the boundaries of others. Confidence means taking the high road and not reacting in kind when someone is angry or rude  Confident people also do not assume everything is their fault or allow others to blame them.

By taking this action I defined that I have boundaries and would rather work with people who are pleasant to work with. The heart of assertive behavior is confidence.

I've found that when we set our boundaries and make clear what we need and what we find acceptable, then people are usually more willing to give it to us.

One of the ways you can become a more assertive person is by taking responsibility for our own choices and actions.

The four major components of being an assertive person are:

  1. Clearly represent what you think and feel, both verbally and using body language.
  2. Make no apology for the way you feel.
  3. Refuse to manipulate others with false guilt.
  4. Respect other people and in turn, they'll respect you.
  5. Learn how to state what you want and what you need. 

Assertiveness is clearly stating what you want and what you need as a means to an end. Being assertive does not mean you need to be pushy. You have the right to be human and take full responsibility for your actions.

You even have the right to be wrong sometimes. You have the right to tell others what you are thinking and feeling — and you have the right to change your mind.

You also have the right to express yourself without intimidation and you have the right to not accept responsibility for other people's actions. You do not have the right to bully, intimidate or humiliate the other person.

Being assertive means owing a situation. The only person you have the ability to change is yourself.

You will want to learn how to set boundaries in your relationships with others. Being clear about boundaries helps you to never bully others or allow others to bully you.

Take this Self Awareness Quiz:

  1. Can you think of a situation recently where you were passive? How could you have spoken up?
  2. Can you think of a situation recently where you were agressive? How could you have calmed down before speaking?
  3. Can you think of a situation where you set boundaries and did not allow others to bully or intimidate you?

You can claim your free eBook on overcoming shyness if you tend to become passive in the face of adversity. 

This article was originally published at Cyber Bullying Help. Reprinted with permission from the author.