By Ryan Pettigrew
Assertiveness is one of the balance oriented things that make life so much better but is really hard to accomplish until it becomes habit. It’s right in the middle between indirect expressions of hostility like snide comments (passive aggressive) and aggressive confrontation; both end up adding fuel to the fire, putting the other person on defense mode rather than fixing the issue at hand. Hostilities escalate on both sides until the relationship is ruined all over communication errors that could’ve been easily addressed with a little know-how.
Most people prefer to avoid confrontation but that’s never healthy and usually leads to passive aggressive behavior; where the issue never gets fixed and resentment builds because the person doesn’t stop acting in a way that the passive aggressive person doesn’t like. However, that’s the passive aggressive person’s fault since most people aren’t mind readers. It’s foolish to build resentment over things the other person doesn’t know bothers you. On the other hand, an aggressive person is a bully and aggressive confrontation always ruins a relationship.
When an issue comes up that even slightly bothers you, wait until the initial emotions subside then talk to the person in a tactful manner about what it is that ‘s bothering you. It’s also important to use phrases such as “I feel” or “It bothers me when…” so the other person doesn’t go on the defensive. Remember, the goal is to fix the problem. More often than not, that person doesn’t even know that it bothers you and since you talked about it in a polite way, they’ll actually try to fix the problem since if they’re in your life, they obviously care about your feelings. The cure for what bothers you may not happen over night but seeing them make an effort will put a smile on your face. Relationships of all kinds are hard work but the main cause of unhealthy relationships and hostilities is a lack of communication. Be assertive and build healthy relationships.