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Being assertive means respecting yourself and other people; seeing people as equal to you, not better than you or less important than you.

The goal of assertive behaviour is to stand up for your rights in such a way that you do not violate another person’s rights. It is achieved through open, direct and honest communication, valuing others, listening, respecting, problem solving and negotiating with other people.

Understanding your body language, taking responsibility for your own feelings with ‘i’ statements can help improve your assertiveness skills but it can take time. Change isn’t easy, at first, trying to approach situations assertively may feel unnatural. It is important not to give up just because you feel awkward, or if a situation doesn’t turn out the way you hoped. Anticipating some of the difficulties will help you feel more in control, just keep practising and you will get there.

The universities counselling and mental health advice team can guide and help you to better understand how you can become assertive

Video Tips for body language