- Choose your battles carefully. Determine your goals and decide exactly what you want to accomplish or change.
- Talk to the first person, be brief and choose your wording carefully. It can be helpful to write down the main message you want to convey
- Use ‘I’ statements like ‘I think’ or ‘I feel’ and avoid language such as ‘always’ and ‘never.’ Repeat a statement if necessary.
- Don’t expect everyone to like your new boundary setting style. If they respond angrily and things are not working out as you hoped, drop the issue and leave.
- Stay calm, firm and in control.
- Repeat and rehearse your speech before doing it for real.
- Do not apologise; setting a boundary is always appropriate
- Listen actively, try and understand the other person’s point of view and be respectful. Try not to debate right and wrong – differences of opinion are expected.
After the exchange, evaluate how your feel, how things went, what you got out of it, if it turned aggressive at any point, and how you could improve your assertiveness techniques for the future.