How to stand up for your own interests without conflict

Many bird species establish and defend territories for nesting and feeding. Instead of engaging in direct conflict, they use displays, calls, and body language to communicate their ownership of an area. Intruders recognize these signals and choose to avoid confrontations. Sounds nice, right?

People can also apply similar principles in their lives. In this post, let’s discuss straightforward ways you can assert your interests without resorting to conflict. It’s all about effective communication and non-confrontational methods.

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Why people avoid standing up for themselves

Regardless of whether you’re naturally introverted or extroverted, asserting yourself should come naturally. When it doesn’t and feels challenging, it often has roots in the past.

At some point, you might have learned that having needs was wrong or that your needs didn’t matter as much as others’. This belief can be deeply ingrained, sometimes hidden in your subconscious. Yet, it holds you back from prioritizing your needs and desires.

It’s possible that the adults in your life weren’t attuned to your needs. You might have taken care of someone, emotionally or physically, who heavily relied on you. You might have been overly concerned about hurting their feelings or making them feel bad if you expressed your own feelings or desires. If this sounds familiar, you may still carry a burden of guilt.

Assertiveness vs. aggression vs. passivity

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Assertiveness, aggression, and passivity are different ways people express their needs and stand up for their interests.

  • Passivity involves avoiding conflict at any cost. People who are passive keep their feelings bottled up, fearing that expressing anger or frustration will make things worse. This leads to resentment and frustration.
  • Aggression manifests in a forceful and hurtful manner of expressing one’s needs. People who can’t manage their frustrations eventually explode, use harsh language, and blame others for their problems.
  • Assertiveness is the middle ground. Instead of bottling up anger or using hurtful words, assertive individuals state their needs clearly and directly. They listen to others and seek solutions that benefit everyone.

For example, in a situation where someone needs help with a presentation at work:

  • Aggressive: “You always try to avoid the tough tasks! It’s like you’re never serious about this project.”
  • Passive: Consistently missing deadlines and providing vague excuses, hoping the team leader will notice and address the issue.
  • Assertive: “I’ve noticed that some tasks seem to be unevenly distributed, and it’s affecting our project’s progress. Can we talk about task allocation?”

Features of assertive communication

Assertive communication is marked by specific features, both in words and actions:

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Eye contact

Maintaining eye contact is crucial because it conveys sincerity and confidence and shows that you are present in the conversation. 

Gestures

Non-verbal gestures, like body movements, express emotions and thoughts. They add emphasis and nuance to your words, thus helping convey your message effectively.

Body posture

Your body posture influences how others perceive you. A positive posture signals openness, confidence, and a willingness to listen. It’s a non-verbal form of communication that demonstrates assertiveness and passive dominance.

Timing

Timing matters in assertive communication. Knowing when to speak and when to listen creates a balanced dialogue, so allowing others to express themselves before offering your input improves conversation flow.

Voice and tone

Your tone, alongside word choice, is vital for clarifying intention and meaning. Using an appropriate tone, combined with factors like pace, pitch, and volume, helps express opinions while remaining respectful.

Content

Clear, respectful language ensures your message is understood without coming across as authoritative. Plus, it enhances mutual understanding.

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Effective communication skills and conflict resolution techniques

So, you want to express your feelings and avoid conflict. This is a common desire in both personal and professional relationships. But when emotions run high, it’s essential to communicate effectively to prevent misunderstandings and maintain healthy connections. 

Soften the startup. Start conversations positively by expressing appreciation and addressing one problem at a time. Use “I” statements like “I” want to be more involved in financial decisions” instead of blaming with “You never include me in financial decisions.”

Make and receive repair attempts. Learn to recognize when a conversation is turning negative and take a break to calm down. At least 20 minutes can help you regain composure and think clearly before continuing the discussion.

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Effective speaking and listening skills. Utilize the speaker-listener technique where each person takes turns speaking and listening. When speaking, share your own thoughts and keep statements brief. When listening, paraphrase what the speaker said to ensure understanding and avoid arguing or giving opinions. Take turns and aim for understanding, even if you don’t agree.

Make conflict resolution the priority. Instead of striving to win or be right in a disagreement, prioritize conflict resolution. Focus on maintaining and strengthening the relationship.

Pick your battles. Not all conflicts are worth your time and energy. Consider whether the issue is genuinely significant. Sometimes, it’s best to let minor disagreements go.

Handling reactions and responses

Even if you do everything right, you should understand that there are no guarantees that the other person will respond appropriately. People have their own emotions, perspectives, and reactions. Despite your best efforts, they may not always react positively.

Nevertheless, your own behavior and response will set the tone for the interaction. Stay calm and composed, even in the face of an uncooperative or negative response, to demonstrate maturity and professionalism. 

When trading on Binomo, conflicts with other people are not a typical part of the experience. However, it’s always a valuable idea to focus on personal growth and become a better trader in the process. 

Sources:

Passive aggressive vs. assertive behavior in relationships, Psychology Today

Conflict resolution skills, HelpGuide.org

Examples of assertive communication (with features), Indeed

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