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Stop Signs

Several signals will indicate when you are headed down the wrong road. These signals can be either nonassertive or aggressive. Read and learn the signals. Practice using what you learn. It’s okay to stop and say something like, “Excuse me. Let me start over.” Others will respect your efforts to be assertive.


Saying “You should…,” “You must…,” “You have to...” Restate as either a request or directive.

Using exaggerated words: “obviously,” “absolutely,” “always,” “never,” “impossible.” Restate with more realistic and factual words.

Saying, “You know,” “maybe,” “kinda,” “sorta,” “only,” “just,” “I guess.” Restate in a more direct, confident manner without the wishy-washy qualifiers.

Asking, “Can you…, “Could you…,” “Would you…,” “Why don’t you…,” “Would you mind…,” “Do you think you might...” Request by asking, “Will you please…”—it is the only question that truly asks for action and a commitment!

Using “it,” “that,” “one,” “you,” or “we” instead of “I.” State your thoughts with, “I think…”; your opinions with “I believe…”; and your feelings with, “I feel… (mad, sad, glad, scared)” or “I am… (mad, sad, glad, scared).”



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