Assertiveness. Just to say no or say the truth?

How to be assertive? Pictures below or similar are often used to illustrate the answer for this question. There are many articles about assertiveness titled “just say no!”. As you can see on the images  “no” might be said in many different ways.

We can explain our thoughts and try to find a compromise or just say no and nothing more. In my opinion, the second case has nothing to do with assertiveness. Unfortunately, many people think that to be assertive means to be able to refuse. Let’s take a look at example.

A: Would you like to go to a dinner with me?
B: No, I have no time. I have to finish my work.
A: Ok. No problem.
—– After a few minutes —–
C: Would you like to go to a dinner with me?
B: Yes, sure I’m very hungry. Wait a minute.

What do you think about the behaviour of person B? One may say that person B has the right to refuse to person A. This is definitely true. My question is: what about the feelings of person A in the context of the next situation? The calm answer “I have no time. I have to finish my work” might be a reason for person A to feel ignored. Why? The answer is simple, that was a lie. Person A has the right to hear the truth, even if it was difficult. For that reason my definition of the assertiveness is a bit different. It’s the ability to say the truth respecting feelings of the other people in the same time.

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