How To Stand Up For Yourself & Be More Assertive With The Person You Love

It's time to stop being a 'people pleaser' and get what you want.

How To Be More Assertive & Stand Up For Yourself In Relationships Honey Yanibel Minaya Cruz on Unsplash

Tonight I have to have a difficult conversation with my boyfriend and I am dreading it.

I'm sitting here thinking about what I'm going to say and what I think he is going to say in response — and how he might hate me and maybe even break up with me by the end of the conversation.

As a result, I'm questioning whether I should bring the topic up at all or simply let the issue go, no matter how unhappy I am about it.


If you've been in this position, you've probably also wondered how to be more assertive and stand up for yourself in your relationships.

You may even have been told you should stop being a "people pleaser" but found yourself too scared to do what it takes in order to ask for and get what you truly need, even from the person you love more than anything in the world.

RELATED: 5 (Classy) Ways To Be Assertive, So People Give You The Respect You Deserve


The life coach in me knows that while my hesitations and fears come from a valid place, there are also many approaches that I can take that will allow me and the man I love to have a successful conversation that ends with us both feeling happier in the end.

In order to ensure the conversation is productive and allows us both to walk away happy, I'm planning to implement these five communication techniques that you can try too.

Here are my 5 best tips on how to be more assertive, stand up for yourself and stop being a people pleaser so you can finally get what you want from the person you love most.

1. Let go of assumptions

As I sit here thinking about what tonight is going to look like, I am visualizing all sorts of reactions from my boyfriend around what I am going to say. Some are calm, some are angry, and some involve tears.

The worse scenarios are what I am most focused on — the things that I fear the most, like that he might hate me or break up with me — and they're all that I can think about. almost more even than the content of the talk. I just don’t know what will happen and it worries me.


But I know that I have to let go of those projected outcomes. I have no idea how he will react, and spending even one minute trying to guess what he might say or do is a complete waste of time and emotional energy.

I let have to my expectations and fears go and accept that whatever happens will happen. I can't control the outcome by thinking about it ahead of time.

2. Choose an ideal time and place

When my kids were little and I had to discuss something difficult with them, I always chose to do so in one of two places: in the car or on a walk.

I've found it effective to have difficult conversations with someone when we're side-by-side instead of face-to-face. I think that perhaps it makes each participant a little less vulnerable and gives them a moment more to react to a statement.


The eyes can say so much, sometimes quickly, which can cause the conversation to devolve in some way.

I also always chose a time that was not stressful. Tonight my boyfriend is coming over for dog therapy, pizza and football — his top three favorite things in this world. He will be happy, and then we will begin. Softly.

By choosing a good time and place to talk, I am setting myself up to be more confident in what I want because I know I will be more comfortable in the situation and more able to speak my truth.

RELATED: People With These 5 Personality Traits Know How To Be Assertive In Relationships

3. Avoid going on the attack

My goal in this conversation is to have a difficult talk in an effective way that lands on it's mark, allowing me to be assertive and having a satisfactory end result. To do this, it’s important not to attack.


My boyfriend is struggling with a few issues in our relationship. I will tell him that I have a feeling that he is struggling and that I would like to support him in any way I can.

What I will not say is, “Why are you doing these stupid things over and over?”

I can guarantee that the only thing that would do is shut him down and cause him to leave.

By talking about how you feel vs. how the person you love behaving, you can be clearer in your discussion, as the only accurate perspective you can ever have is your. This also prevents a quarrel, because he can’t push back against your feelings in the same way he could push back against accusations.


So talk about how you feel, not about the things he does. It will be way more effective, I promise.

4. Make sure to practice active, reflective listening

This is so important. You need to be very careful to listen to what you are hearing back from the person with whom you are talking.

Not only could you get some valuable information, but by letting them know you are paying attention, you will be more likely to get the outcome you seek, namely sticking up for yourself successfully.

Try reflective listening. Many people find it difficult but it really works.

After they speak say, “I hear you saying ... and I get it.” Words that will allow them to feel heard, validated and empathized with.


Often, all people want to be is heard, and not feeling so makes them angry and leads them to shut down or storm off. And if your person gets angry and storms off, you will way more likely to capitulate and not speak up for yourself. Again.

5. Remember that everything is going to be all right

I know this conversation tonight with my boyfriend seems like it might be the end of the world, but really, no matter what, it’s all going to be OK.

I always tell my clients to consider this question: “What is the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen?”

For me, I know that the worse that could happen would be the death of my child. That is something I don’t think I could survive. But you know what? I probably could. And regardless, that won't happen tonight because of this conversation.


So, yes, a conversation might bring about pain and discomfort and maybe even produce some short or long term negative effects but really, everyone is going to be OK.

You will be especially OK if you speak up for what you want and need. Imagine how that would feel, knowing that you have been heard, as opposed to how it would feel, walking away feeling like you let yourself down again.

I am definitely nervous about standing up for myself and being more assertive in tonight’s conversation.


The topic is a difficult one, but the conversation is necessary.

Now that I am done worrying about possible outcomes I have my list of things I want to address and am going to do so carefully and with love.

And while there might be some tears and discomfort, I know that, really, everything is going to be OK.

If I can speak up for myself and be more assertive, ultimately, I will be happier. We will still love each other and life will go on.

I can do this — and you can too!

RELATED: 4 Ways To Be More Assertive & Respond To Overly Controlling People (Without Being Rude)

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live. Contact her via email and get started now!