Assertive and empathetic communication

At first glance you may think that these two concepts have a lot in common, but not so much, empathy is oriented to “others” , which means that its focus is always focused on other people. Whereas being assertive seems to be more “self-oriented,” meaning that your focus is on your own needs and wants. Read on and find out more about the differences between assertive and empathic communication .

Assertive communication

Empathic Communication

DefinitionAssertive communication is a style in which people clearly express their opinions and feelings, and strongly defend their rights and needs without violating the rights of others.Empathic communication, in the simplest definition, means showing the other person that they are being listened to and that their internal universe (thoughts, emotions, attitudes, values, etc.) is understood.
PurposeAssertiveness is intended to make the opinions or thoughts of the person known, that is, it puts the focus on oneself.Empathy, on the other hand, will put your attention mainly on others, listening to them and helping them.
Profits– Enforce the rights of oneself and of others
– Have control of the conversation and maintain the proper forms
– Connect with others and give a clear message of what you want to communicate
– Express feelings and thoughts in an efficient and respectful way
– Understand the thoughts, emotions, attitudes and values ​​of others
– Listen to the other person, evaluate what he says and give an answer to help him with his internal universe
– Apply perception to communication, and that it is not a mere talk without importance .

What is assertive communication

Assertive communication is a style in which people clearly express their opinions and feelings , and strongly defend their rights and needs without violating the rights of others. These individuals value themselves, their time, and their emotional, spiritual, and physical needs, and are strong advocates for themselves, while being highly respectful of the rights of others.

Assertive communicators:

  • Respect the needs and wishes of the state in a clear, appropriate and respectful manner
  • Express feelings clearly, appropriately, and respectfully
  • They communicate respect for others
  • They listen well without interrupting
  • They feel control over themselves
  • They have good eye contact
  • They speak in a calm and clear tone of voice
  • They have a relaxed body posture
  • They feel connected to others
  • They feel competent and in control
  • They do not allow others to abuse or manipulate
  • They defend their rights

The impact of an assertive communication pattern is that these people:

  • They feel connected to others
  • They feel like they are in control of their lives
  • They can mature because they address problems as they arise
  • Create a respectful environment for others to grow and mature

The assertive communicator will say, believe, or behave in a way that says:

  • “We have the same right to respectfully express each other.”
  • “I’m sure who I am.”
  • “I realize that I have options in my life and I consider my options.”
  • “I speak clearly, honestly and get to the point.”
  • “I cannot control others but I can control myself.”
  • “I give a high priority to having my rights respected.”
  • “I am responsible for meeting my needs in a respectful manner.”
  • “I respect the rights of others.”
  • “Nobody owes me anything unless they have agreed to give it to me.”
  • “I am 100% responsible for my own happiness.”

Assertiveness allows us to take care of ourselves and is essential for good mental health and healthy relationships.

What is empathic communication

Empathy is defined as the action of understanding, being aware, being sensitive, and indirectly experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another , whether from the past or present, without the feelings, thoughts, and experiences being fully explicitly communicated. Therefore, empathic communication , in the simplest definition, means showing the other person that they are listened to and that their internal universe (thoughts, emotions, attitudes, values, etc.) is understood.

Entering the world of other people and seeing what they see is not easy, but it helps us avoid making wrong assumptions and judgments about the person we are talking to. From a psychological point of view, empathy implies two things: perception and communication .

Communication without the correct perception of the meaning of the message leads to a decrease in the empathic character of the relationship or conversation. It is no wonder why the cause of 90% of conflicts has to do with faulty communication. This is because when someone speaks, we generally choose a listening level among these three:

  • We pretend to listen, nodding in agreement from time to time during the conversation;
  • We listen selectively and choose to respond / debate fragments of the conversation;
  • (the least used method) We are fully involved in the conversation, concentrating our attention and energy on what is being said.

After hearing someone speak, we generally have one of the following four reactions:

  • Evaluation: we evaluate whether we agree or disagree;
  • Exam: we ask questions from our subjective perspective;
  • Advice: we offer advice from our own experience;
  • Interpretation: We tend to think that we fully understand all aspects of the situation.

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