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Role of assertiveness in relationships

Updated on August 29, 2015

Some of us feel frazzled in life to the extent of hopelessness because of the relationships that don’t work, although they give their best to sustain them. Giving one’s best is not enough to sustain a relationship longer. It is equally important to extort what is the best contribution of the other person in a relationship so that it may continue smoothly. This can be done if one is adept in the skill of assertiveness. So, the lack of assertiveness affects relationships and often leads to the person not getting what he or she wants.

The skill of assertiveness requires a person to be direct, honest and open about one’s feelings, needs, and opinions in relationships but it doesn’t imply that the person should overlook the feeling, needs and opinions of the others. It further requires one to state reasonable requests directly and firmly, and be responsible for one’s own behavior.

Most of us develop different levels of skill of assertiveness through our experiences in life but one can also learn the skill. This skill plays a valuable role in maintaining good and harmonious relationships. Therefore, if we can achieve a good level of mastery over it, we can achieve success in our personal, professional and social relationships.

How does assertiveness affect relationships? -

Assertiveness helps sustain a relationship in the followings ways:

  • Honesty and mutual respect are some of the key elements, which sustain long term relationships. When one is assertive, one is respectful to oneself as well as the other since it is one of the important requirements of the skill.
  • Any relationship can have its highs and lows. Since a self-assertive person doesn’t have a dearth of self-confidence, he or she can confidently handle a difficult situation in a relationship. Such a person will view the difficult situation both from his or her viewpoint as well as other’s viewpoint before reaching a mutually acceptable decision. An assertive person does not necessarily sugar-coat what he or she has to say. Since such a person has a good convincing power because of one’s honesty and open-mindedness, he or she is able to bring the other person round to such a decision.
  • Assertive people normally focus on “I” statements instead of “You” in their conversations. Usually, if a person uses more “You”, the other person becomes defensive. Such a threatening attitude of a person leads to a deadlock while trying to reach an amicable solution to a problem in a relationship.
  • By and large, assertive people deal with the issue immediately rather than allowing the frustration to build. If an issue is not attended appropriately for a long period, emotions build up in persons involved in the issue, which may lead to heated responses amongst them. Such a situation is actually detrimental to a relationship.
  • An assertive person will never bring past while attending to an issue in a relationship, since reference to the issues of the past may lead to blaming each other, which may hinder the resolution of the current issue. Moreover, an assertive person always brings up one issue at a time for resolution instead of overwhelming the other person with many issues at a time.
  • An assertive person has a body language and facial expression that reinforces what one is saying. So, such a person has higher credibility in the eyes of others, which helps in reaching agreeable solutions to the problems.
  • Assertive people miss no opportunity to compliment others and accept compliments graciously from others. This habit smoothes out the wrinkles in the texture of many relationships.
  • They disagree mildly and state their position clearly, firmly in a non-demanding and uncritical way. Nonetheless, they disagree emphatically, when it is necessary to get their point across to the person, who is being stubborn. This habit goes a long way in sustaining a relationship.
  • Assertive people normally seek clarification from the other person if they have any doubt about something, since by understanding it fully, one can be able to reach a suitable agreement.
  • An assertive person responds positively to the unreasonable demands of others and firmly says No to fulfill those demands. Initially, although the person, who puts forward unreasonable demands, may feel letdown but the assertive person has the ability to bring the person around to his or her viewpoint.
  • Assertive persons are able to interpret a gut feeling, a hunch or an intuition about something. They can say No to something if they sense something odd about a situation. They can also bring round the other person why they are saying No. The emphatic No in such situations will save a relationship from taking an ugly turn.

The bottom line –

Every problem has an inherent solution in it, which can be turned into a win-win situation by means of an assertive behavior. Because the assertive people solve problems quickly, resentment, frustrations and tension are not allowed to build up in relationships. Assertive behavior can actually reduce physical and mental stress in people involved in relationships. Thus, assertiveness is one of the best skills vital to the sustenance of happy and harmonious relationships.


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    • Dr Pran Rangan profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      3 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks for your encouraging comments. Your hubs and the comments that you write on other's hubs reflect that your are an assertive and a successful person.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      3 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      Bravo! I especially loved the quote you chose which summed up the hub in so few words. Most people spend a life time trying not to be assertive but I love that character in a person. A person who is assertive is honest and their direct approach when dealing with people or situations shows maturity. I consider myself an assertive person. I found its a quality not everyone like-but most respect. Emge is correct- most assertive people are very successful. Excellent work here.

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      3 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks for your encouraging comments.

    • emge profile image


      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Interesting topic. Being assertive is part of success


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