When you make a request that is denied, do you say “ok” and walk away hurt or withdrawn in anger, or do you petition for what you want?

If you regularly just give up and allow your ego response to being rejected (Ouch!) to dictate your actions, you take on the disempowering role of victim in your relationships. Being a communication victim is painful, frustrating, and, most importantly, ineffective.

The first step to getting what you want is to learn to speak assertively, while honoring yourself and others.

Four Strategies to Speak Assertively & Negotiate Effectively

1. Use “I” Statements

Avoid using “you” statements that distance you from your feelings and imply blame. Instead, use statements that begin with “I would like…”

2. Consciously Take Responsibility for What You Want

You do not need anyone’s approval for what you want. Remember, this is your desire you are talking about. Avoid adding qualifying statements to your requests (e.g. “You’ll probably think this is crazy, but…”). Also, reduce tag questions (e.g. “Does that make sense?” “Is that okay?”).

3. Be Specific

If you are seeking more time with your spouse, say, “I have a simple request that we make Tuesday night date night so we can spend more quality time together.” not, “We never go out anymore. Would it kill you to make a plan?”(See how that is likely to NOT get you what you want?)

4. Stop Writing a Script

When your request gets turned down, do you write a script about the real reason the person said no? It is so much more effective to ask instead of speculating. 99% of the time you will be wrong (because you are most likely projecting your deepest fear onto the why) and asking will build your negotiating skill set and creates authentic space for problem solving.

Learning to be a better negotiator for yourself has far greater implications than more satisfaction in your life. The increase in self-esteem/self-confidence that comes from being brave enough to speak up can be a game changer in all areas of your life.

I hope you have an amazing week, negotiating for what you need, and, as always, take care of you.

Love Love Love


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  1. I’ve started to do this recently. I appreciate this tip (along w/other ones) and your encouragement. I just am having trouble not taking it personally and not feeling hurt, angry, resentful when my request gets turned down. In my head; I know that everyone has the right to accept or turn down a request; however in dealing w/what I consider the icky feelings (feeling rejected, etc) how does one remain positive and hopeful? Thank you in advance for your response 🙂

    1. Sofia-
      Thank you for your question. You have to understand what the rejection is kicking up for you from an earlier time. Have you done any therapy work? It is a great place to start to understand why we react the way we do. Many times our reaction is rooted in an earlier injury, that needs attention. When you feel solid in your own self knowledge and self care I bet being rejected or turned down will impact you much less. Keep up the good work-you deserve to be truly happy xo

  2. Great article Terri, I’m not sure about #1 “Use “I” Statements. From what I know, this makes you come off as selfish and insensitive. By acknowledging the other person and their feelings, you are in a better position of making them feel better and eventually getting what you want. Seems like a long stretch but it works without being self-centered.

    That said, I love #3 “Be Specific” and the example outlined “I have a simple request that we make Tuesday night date night so we can spend more quality time together.” I’m keeping this tucked somewhere if I ever have to use this sometime in the future 😀

    Again, thanks for the great post! Looking forward to many more!

    1. Hey Timothy-
      So great to have you here with us! To speak to your objection to #1, let me clarify. What I mean is, when you are trying to communicate your need, instead of saying,”you never…” or “why can’t you just…” your focus needs to be on you and using I statements. For example,”I would really appreciate it if you could…” “I feel left out when…” When negotiating our own needs it is not actually effective to dial into the other person’s feeling state as they are responsible for getting their needs met. I certainly don’t condone ‘blaming’ language or behavior as that REALLY does not get you what you are seeking! Thank you for being here and participating in this conversation! xo

  3. Hallo Terri,
    first of all, thank you for having a chance to be part of your community. I subscribed recently to your weekly tune-up tips and love your blog.
    Also, thank you for posting the tips for negotiating our needs, as its my “topic” these days. I am trying to negotiate renumeration for my work, which feels challenging. I live and work in Athens (Greece) and I am being constantly told that these days, in the crisis-striken Greece, people must accept low payments, but I know that my work and value I offer to our clients is worthy much more. Therefore
    I am trying to find the balance between reality and my strong need to stand for my own worth and needs, as I feel that just by accepting the “norm” I am betraying myself.
    So thank you for encouraging us not to give up and fight for what we want!


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