How I Communicate with Confidence in Conflicts

I don’t always communicate with confidence. If I’m tired, annoyed or anxious about something I may slip into some old, and frankly unproductive ways of expressing myself.  I have trained myself to become more skillful and assertive, meaning I try to think about all sides of the situation before I say a word or pause before I press send. But no one is perfect, I mean just recently my boyfriend and got into a misunderstanding over text. The “????” I sent was probably not the most effective way to respond to the text telling me that he was going running late. I felt ridiculous when I found out that he wasn’t trying to ignore me. He was actually stuck on a call with a client unable to get back to my texts. Oops. I felt embarrassed and silly, not a good example communicating with confidence. 

Paulo Coehlo quote to help you communicate with confidence.In the past I used to struggle to communicate with confidence. If someone wanted to change plans, I’d usually comply (even if I didn’t want to). I was more passive, and thus more ticked off at myself afterwards. Not a good feeling. After being intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) I now have more skills to express myself without worry or anxiety. It’s an awesome feeling I want you to have too!

Whether your 15 or 55 you know what it feels like when you have a communication blunder. You know when your mind goes to Crazy Town after a situation; you worry about what they think of you, ruminate over what you would’ve or could’ve said differently. I used to hate that feeling. Even if others respond in a way you wish they wouldn’t when you start to act assertive, you feel more confident. Speaking up and communicating your needs the nicest thing you can do for yourself. As scary as it sounds most people will learn to respect you more when you are assertive.

Are You Passive or Assertive?

Passivity is when you don’t speak up for what you want or need. Picture this, your friend who is known for being more of a demanding diva than hostess with the most-est, the one who takes everything personally (you know you have one of these in your life), asks you to make dessert for a party she’s throwing. You’ve been too busy to even blow dry your hair let alone bake a cake, but you give in and say yes anyway.

When you say yes, and you really wish you would’ve said no it takes a toll on your confidence. Maybe you get mad at yourself or maybe you get frustrated with her. Over time passive individuals become tired of not being heard (often because no one can hear them if they aren’t saying what they want!). They can try to act assertive, stay in their comfort zone AKA giving in to others or become resentful.

Assertiveness is expressing yourself so that others can hear you and so you respect yourself in the situation. If you cant and don’t want to make the cake you could say “I wish I could but this week is crazy busy for me. Sorry I can’t help out this time.” She may get annoyed but she knows why you can’t help her out because you’ve expressed yourself. Also you are protecting yourself from feeling passive. The more assertive I am the better I feel about myself no matter what the situation.

Try the Sandwich Technique

I teach this assertiveness technique in my groups with teens and adults. It works so well that I put it in my book Express Yourself too. Put your request in between two positives; think of it like the sticky peanut butter in between two slices of bread. For example, expressing your feelings to the frustrating friend from above.
Positive: “Thank you so much for inviting me.”
Request: “Unfortunately this week is so packed I can’t even cook dinner. Can you ask someone else?”
Positive: “I’m so excited to take a break from this crazy week to spend time with you.”

Sound too easy? Try it, you’ll notice some pretty amazing responses when you are in control and feeling more confident about your approach, even with the most challenging people.

Communicate with Confidence Even in a Conflict

Girl not talking to boyfriend. Learn to communicate with confidence.Recently I was in situation that pissed me off big time. I had gone out of my way to meet up with an old friend. Due to a romantic history years ago I was already a little anxious but thought it would be nice to reconnect. In fact I was a bit excited to catch up. When he didn’t show up to the restaurant (after telling me 2 hours earlier he would) I felt angry and insecure. I mean who wouldn’t?

When I called and texted to see what was up and got his voicemail, I became worried and pissed. My emotions were making me want to text some pretty harsh words. But instead, I used this skill and the outcome was awesome. I felt so much more in control and although he likely deserved to get an earful, I knew I would feel bad later if I was rude. Instead I was effective.

By the way: you can communicate with confidence even if you’re pissed or mad. Everyone has negative emotions, but being assertive means that you validate the emotion and act in a way that respects you and the other person. Just try not to have the conversation when you are fuming, wait until you feel like you are in control of your emotions, rather than having them control you.

If you use this DBT skill to communicate with confidence you will notice incredible changes. Who doesn’t want to feel more in control and confident before entering a conversation, especially if there is some tension between you and the other person? This skill has helped me reduce anxiety before talking to someone who makes me feel frustrated, insecure or someone I’m in a conflict with. It helps because it allows me to put myself in a different perspective for a second, in the person’s shoes, which gets me out of an emotional mindset.

The THINK skill can be used with your family, your friends, a co-worker or even someone who intimidates you This video will help you use this DBT skill to regulate your emotions and communicate with confidence.

Try the THINK Skill to Communicate with Confidence

So how do you communicate with confidence? Have you tried the Sandwich technique or the THINK skill? Let us know!



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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is The Guidance Girl. Her goal is to help YOU become the most confident person you know! Emily is an award-winning author Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, Educational Speaker, and parenting consultant. She travels around the country educating girls, women, and parents. Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.

About the Author:

Emily Roberts, M.A., LPC is a Psychotherapist, Parenting Consultant, Educational Speaker and Published Author. Her Book Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are was published by New Harbinger Publications. The Guidance Girl is a concept created by Emily as an innovative, powerful approach to help you achieve goals and feel your best by redefining traditional therapy for the girls and women of today.

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