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Part VII: Assertive Confrontation > Defining the Problem

Chapter 18. Defining the Problem

Perhaps the most challenging time to be assertive is when another person’s behavior is unacceptable to you and you need to talk with this person about changing the behavior. What do you think of when you hear the word confrontation? Do you envision yelling and screaming? Do you imagine anger, tears, blame and accusation, denials and hurt feelings? Most people have only unpleasant experiences involving confrontation, and have no idea how confrontation can be handled assertively, even caringly.

One important aspect of handling confrontation assertively is defining the problem in such a way that you can talk with the other person about the problem without communicating disapproval or disrespect. This requires that you learn to define the specific behavior that you find unacceptable, rather than seeing the other person as unacceptable. This may take some practice!


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