The truth is that they are two social skills that all people can develop and enhance throughout our lives and, in general terms, help us improve our relationship with other people.
Assertiveness allows us to express ourselves clearly, directly and appropriately in any context and empathy allows us to understand others and put ourselves in their place even if we do not share their points of view.
Are both skills complementary? And, in the case of being, how is an assertive and empathic person? Next, in this article on characteristics of assertive and empathetic people, pay attention!
What is assertiveness?First, let's see what is the definition of assertiveness. This term refers to the social ability that a person develops internally and that allows him to communicate effectively with other people, he knows how to express his feelings, thoughts and opinions in the most appropriate way and at the appropriate time without any kind of hostility nor aggressiveness.
An assertive person has the ability to be clear, frank and direct in any social situation by being respectful and without hurting the feelings of others at any time. Likewise, it also reacts and appropriately manages any conflict or discussion that it has to face.
Being assertive gives the person who has that ability benefits such as the following:
- Personal satisfaction in carrying out things with sufficient capacity.
- Increased self-confidence and self-confidence.
- Improvement of self-esteem
- Efficient communication with all kinds of people.
- Social acceptance and respect for others.
- Strengthening of personal rights.
In the following article, we show some of the most effective techniques to develop the capacity of assertiveness .
Assertiveness techniques for discussions
- Striped disc technique : it is about repeating the same argument over and over again, patiently and calmly without entering into discussions.
- Fog bank : the other person is given the reason, but avoiding entering into greater discussions. He is told in a calm and convincing tone of voice transmitting to the other person that is right in what he says.
- Assertive postponement: the discussion is postponed to another moment where the situation is controlled more.
- Relativize the importance of what is discussed : it is about showing that sometimes it is more important not to enter into discussion and understand that it does not lead anywhere. For example, interrupt a discussion with a comment like "Maybe this discussion is not as important as we are giving it."
- Technique to ignore : the discussion is not followed the other but through verbal and non-verbal language is conveyed that it is not a disregard to ignore the topic of discussion.
- Technique of differentiating a behavior from one way of being : the other is made to see that even though one may have made an error, that does not imply that he is a bad person. For example, "Even if I'm late today, that does not mean it's unpunctual."
- Technique of the assertive question : it is based on the idea that the criticism of the other is well intentioned (even if it is not). A question is asked to clarify what we have done wrong and how we can do it well. For example: "How do you want me to change so this does not happen again?"
Cognitive restructuring is a therapeutic method of intervention in order to provide the client with sufficient resources to make their life easier in the face of problems or conflicts that arise daily.
In cognitive restructuring the therapist uses different methods to change those negative thoughts by making the client aware of the type of cognitions or language used that he is using so that he can modify them.
This method teaches the client how to identify those irrational beliefs (such as "Some kind of people are vile, evil and infamous and should be seriously blamed and punished for their evil" or "It is easier to avoid than face certain responsibilities and difficulties in life ") so that they are finally able to do it on their own and thus improve their quality of life. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to give the subject the necessary tools to defend themselves against the inclemencies of life in a healthy way.
Tips for dealing with a hostile person
Tips on how to make requests and how to deal with a hostile person:
How to make requests
- When you ask for something, do not do it "in exchange" for something else (that is, do not accept or engage in moral or emotional blackmail).
- Do not justify yourself or humiliate yourself before the other, but do not coerce or emotionally blackmail him.
- Consider that you deserve what you ask for.
- Always keep calm and self-control.
- Express yourself clearly, without detours.
- If you receive a negative, say that you understand the other's reasons. If you think it is necessary and convenient, try again in the same terms.
- Not to be reactive, that is, not get hot or follow the game in the altered conversations. Stay calm.
- Do not accept to enter the game of negative or malicious conversations.
- Do not contraargument or contradict. Malicious conversations do not seek to reach mutual agreements, but seek to manipulate and destabilize.
- If they criticize you openly, you can use two tactics, as the situation requires: Ask the other to critically criticize your actions, not yourself. Admit criticism calmly and carefree. That is, admit only that such criticism "can be" true, which also implies that "may not be true" with which we do not give up and remain calm.
- Do not take negatives, reproaches or criticism personally. You will avoid useless resentments.
- When faced with an aggressive or angry interlocutor, gently but firmly lead him to focus on "the facts", on what has really happened, not on the people.
- Propose to find solutions around the facts, not people. Facts can be changed, people who are harder to change, and we are not the ones to change anyone.
- Always save the dignity of the other, you will avoid their resentment and revenge.
Assertiveness is usually applied in three well-differentiated steps:
- Focus on exposing facts and data. In this phase do not expose feelings, opinions or reasoning of any kind.
- Clearly expose what you want. Clarify all your reasons, your personal reasons and your feelings.
- Say clearly and bluntly what you expect the other to do.
- Assertiveness is a skill, a capacity to assert with security and with simplicity and strength what I want and what I think, rights themselves, without being manipulated and without manipulating others.
- The non-assertive or inhibited person does not defend personal rights and interests. Respect others, but not yourself. The aggressive person defends in excess the rights and personal interests, without taking into account those of others. Assertive people know their own rights and defend them, respecting others, that is, they will not "win", but "reach an agreement". I win / You win.
- Carrying a self-registration, we will have objective evidence about the changes that are experienced in our person. If the annotations are not made regularly, memory will have to be trusted and this is a very inaccurate method of self-observation, as many investigations have shown.
What is empathy?For its part, empathy is another personal skill that allows a person to have the ability to put himself in the place of another and understand and experience their points of view without necessarily adopting that perspective.
Empathic people listen to others with attention and are able to capture a lot of information about the other through, not only their words, but also their tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, body posture, etc. From all this information, they can intuit what that person is feeling and, moreover, have the ability to influence or modulate the emotions of others, trying to communicate and transmit those words that know that at that time can help the other.
In short, they are people who care deeply about others, they know how to listen, respectful, flexible in their thinking, supportive and with a great capacity for self-criticism.
In the following article, we explain in detail what are the differences between assertiveness and empathy so that you better understand both concepts.
Differences between assertiveness and empathyUndoubtedly, both terms, such as assertiveness and empathy, are often confused because they are social skills that people can develop and that help us improve our relationship with others.
Who has not met a person who knows how to make requests to others safely without the need to reach discussions? Or who has not met a person who likes many people because of their capacity to listen and understand?
There are many people who have very developed this type of social skills that undoubtedly are of great help to be successful in almost any area of your life.
It is necessary to point out that each and every one of us, if we want to, can develop this kind of skills, the only thing that is needed is to change habits in our way of acting and interacting with others and a lot of practice and perseverance.
In this article, we will know what are the differences between assertiveness and empathy, for that we will define both concepts and we will give you some recommendations to develop these skills.
Assertiveness and empathyWe will begin by defining each of these terms and provide some examples that will help clarify the differences between the two.
What is assertiveness?
Assertiveness is a social skill that allows the person to express their tastes, desires and interests in the most appropriate way and at the right time. This is done based on respect for themselves and others and without feeling some type of discomfort or anxiety. The assertive person is clear, sincere and direct since he really expresses what he wants but without hurting the feelings of others, with the sole purpose of asserting his personal rights.
A clear example of assertiveness would be a person who does not want to do something that another wants him to do and has no difficulty in saying no, but he does it in an accurate and peaceful way, without the need to lie or argue. Another example is that of a person who is verbally attacked by his boss or by a co-worker, this person will have no problem in recognizing and defending himself in an appropriate way, without insulting, shouting or on the contrary acting passively, will let him know your disagreement and will assert your rights as a person.
What is empathy?
Empathy is also, as we have already seen, a social skill that allows us to understand and recognize the opinions and feelings of other people, without needing to feel identified with them or adopt them. An empathic person knows how to listen and put himself in the place of the other, knowing his way of thinking and perceiving things. This is done without judgment and without their opinions or preferences intervening, which makes the other person feel really understood and taken into account. This is the reason why empathic people "click" more easily with others because they make them feel recognized and valued despite not agreeing on tastes, beliefs and / or preferences.
An example of empathy is the work of psychologists , psychologists obviously have to be empathetic with their patients since they have to listen to them and really put themselves in their place in order to help them find the most appropriate solutions for their personal situation, based solely on in the beliefs and principles of the person without imposing theirs. The psychologist has to respect each person's personal differences and act on them, he can never put his own ones beforehand since this would never generate understanding but rather imposition.
Another example would be those people who are told about a problem or a situation that is causing us a lot of concern and that when we finish talking with them, we are left with that feeling of having been really heard and understood, as if that person knew. really how we feel, what causes your company to like us.
Differences between assertiveness and empathyAfter having detailed what each one of these important social skills consists of, we will know in broad terms what makes them different.
- Assertiveness, unlike empathy, is more aimed at making our own opinion known, asserting our rights and defending ourselves when the situation warrants it. This means that it is more focused on ourselves than on others.
- Empathy puts the focus mainly on others, on listening to the opinions and feelings of other people, leaving aside our own at that moment, since they are listened to without judgment.
- The Assertiveness not necessarily aimed at building a deeper bond with the other person because their main purpose is not that but look good for yourself.
- Empathy can generate a deeper and closer bond with other people when trying to understand them and attend them with sufficient attention.
Tips for developing empathy
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, each and every one of us can develop this type of social skills, for this we must practice and be constant in our new way of acting. Here are some tips so you can develop empathy with others.
- Listen actively to others without judging them or imposing your own opinions or points of view. When someone is telling you something that is happening to them, try to pay as much attention as possible, focus on understanding the reasons you have to do it, find out how you feel, what thoughts are going through your head, etc. Stop putting your own thoughts and emotions before you, make an effort to "enter into their world" and understand it.
- Paraphrases what he says. Every time I say something to you, once you finish the last sentence, if you have not yet fully understood what you think or feel, you can naturally repeat the last sentence you said, which will cause you to feel heard and give your footing. to continue explaining what is happening to him.
- Let him know the emotion you think he may be experiencing. After paraphrasing a small part of what you have said, you can add the letting him know the emotion that you think he may be feeling. For example: "this thing you tell me that you realize that your mother is constantly manipulating you and stops talking to you, I imagine that she must be making you feel very lonely, right?"
- Do not interpose your ideas or judge what he is saying. If the person is opening up to you telling you what is happening to them and their way of perceiving the world is because they feel comfortable and understood, they will stop feeling the same if you start giving them advice based on your own way of seeing things, they will feel judged and underestimated So if you are going to issue advice, base yourself on what you are saying only and what you are feeling and perceiving.
Tips to develop assertiveness
- Analyze your behavior It is necessary that you analyze and identify the specific moments in which you are acting in a non-assertive manner to be able to modify them, but you will never know where to start.
- Speak in the first person Do not say that things are or are not in a certain way because everyone has a different way of seeing them. Better use the "I" in your conversation, for example you can say "I think ...", "I believe that .....", etc.
- Identify your personal values Have an analysis about which are your most important people values for you. For example, one of them may be loyalty to your loved ones, another the companionship in your work, etc.
- Act according to your personal values. Once you have identified your personal values, act in consistency with them and defend them every time you think you put them at risk.
- Body language. It is important that your body language be that of a confident and confident person. Every time someone is talking to you, look him in the eyes, keep an erect posture, do not lower your head, etc. so that you reflect being a self-confident person through your body posture.
- Identify your rights and assert them. Identify what your personal rights are, remember that we all have rights. Once you have identified them, make them work and set limits when someone wants to violate those rights. For example, one of the rights that all people have is to say "no", so you have to look for ways to do it without attacking or lying. Do not feel guilty for saying that you are not going to do something you do not want, after all you are in all your rights.
Assertiveness and empathy: ideal communicationOnce both terms are defined, we must clarify the following:
- Both assertiveness and empathy are two social skills that all human beings can develop throughout our lives, either intentionally or spontaneously from our daily experiences.
- There is no rational exclusivity between the two, that is, a person can be assertive but not empathic and vice versa.
- They are totally complementary social skills that the same individual can possess. In a way, we can consider that empathy corresponds to the most human and emotional assertiveness.
Characteristics of assertive and empathic peopleWe can conclude, then, that empathic assertiveness is the ability that allows us to understand and understand the needs of other people, at the same time that allows us to be understood and understood by others. Next, we show what the main characteristics of assertive and empathic people are:
- They accept each person as they are, with their virtues and their defects. They are very respectful.
- They do not try to project their points of view or way of life into others.
- They are understanding, have a conciliatory attitude and are open to understanding.
- They know how to manage conflicts correctly, putting the necessary means for their solution. For them, their purpose in a conflict is to reach an agreement and find the best way to solve the situation.
- They trust in communication as the best method to understand and understand the needs of others, as well as to know how to act later. They prefer to resolve and deal with issues and conflicts face to face.
- They avoid hurting the feelings of others, therefore, first, they communicate the recognition towards the other person and, a posteriori , they state their needs, rights and opinions without any kind of hostility or aggression. They practice active listening, that is, first, they try to put themselves in the place of the other to understand him, but later they also claim their rights and express their thoughts to be equally heard and understood.
- When they communicate with someone, in addition to paying close attention to what that person says, they also take into account how they express themselves, what tone of voice they use and what body language they adopt.
- During the conversations, they avoid taking their opinions or reflections to the personal ground and focus the dialogue on the events. Thus, they prevent the other person from feeling attacked or hurt by value judgments. Do not incur disqualifications or provocations to disarm the arguments of others.
- They are very grateful people.
- It does not cost them to apologize or accept their mistakes.
- They feel comfortable expressing their feelings and thoughts and always do so in a firm, reasoned and justified way.
- They transmit kindness, optimism and good energy to the people around them.