Sunday, May 17, 2009

Assertive Statements & Openers

So I've been in this NVC course for 5 weeks now. If there is one thing that the instructors want to hammer home it is the importance of the Assertive Statement.

You see, there are four basic ways we can communicate:

Passive -- You recognize everyone else's needs and deny you own. Because you want to please others, you do not say what you want. Of course, you don't get what you want either, and this leads to anger and resentment.

Aggressive -- You get what you want by ignoring the needs of others and "plowing" through. Your success comes at the expense of other people's feelings. You may feel superior and self-righteous at first, but later feel guilty.

Passive-Aggressive -- You get what you want in a sneaky and underhanded way. You ignore the feelings of others and behave in a way that is indirect and often irresponsible. To feel superior, you have to justify and rationalize most of your actions.

Assertive -- You act in your own best interest while respecting the rights and feelings of others. Your communication is honest, direct, and straightforward. You feel confident at the time and later. Others treat you with respect because you express yourself authentically.

Now, let's relate these communication styles to seduction.

Zan mentioned that in the "northern climes" we have strong women and weak men. The men are very passive. They hesitate and deliberate. They express an eagerness to please that denies their own desires. It is as if their whole approach is an apology for being a man.

And in the "southern climes" we have men that are too aggressive. They are very forward verbally and physically, with no finesse. They will "caveman" a woman and try to take what they want by force.

What Zan did not mention, is that the bulk of the community teachings take a passive-aggressive approach. The oppression of emotions, the need for validation, the obsession with compliance and value, the manipulative tactics, the engendering a feeling of insecurity in women, the obsession with controlling situations. I can't tell you how many of these community guys have told me that they are mad at the world, feel cheated by life, or are trying to get back at someone somehow. The common approach manages to be both clingy and hostile at the same time.

Then we have a movement where Zan and others are trying to introduce men to assertive communication. The key is not specifically "having no agenda." The key is, in fact, having an agenda, expressing it honesty, while taking her situation into account. Effectively, this means having no hidden agenda. The hidden agenda is passive-aggressive.

Assertively expressing yourself does not guarantee that you will get what you want, but it puts everything in the open such that there is no pretense or presumption. You have a desired outcome, but you remain detached from it. You are not saying a certain thing for her to like you, you are saying it because that is who you are. If she does not like it, that is fine, you are still you; honest and assertive.

Now back to that Assertive Statement.

NVC, is essentially a course in anger management and crisis aversion, so we specifically deal with the communication of negative emotions.

We learn to use a formula as a tool to easily make effective assertive statements. The assertive statement has three parts: How you feel, what the issue is, and what you want to happen. So it looks like this:

I feel... when you... what I want is...

How you feel is the "I statement" that identifies your hurt feeling.

What the issue is means you identify a specific problem -- this has to be a fact, and not an accusation.

What you want to happen is your clear, reasonable, and realistic request.

I feel... when you... what I want is...

We had to share some examples in class. I get a little frustrated when people text me, so I shared this one:

"I feel disrespected when you text me. What I want is to see personal communication by calling. If I don't pick up, then you can text me."

Try this anytime you feel angry or frustrated. Identify the hurt feeling beneath the angry feeling and then use this three part Assertive Statement.

Now, I want to relate this all back to seduction again. After Zan's presentation on Wednesday, I realized that his style of opening is a form of assertive statement. And as a teacher, I know that it is important to present structure when introducing something new. So here is a formula you can use that will allow you to assertively express your authentic self when making a cold approach...

It's a really simple and empowering way to open:

I noticed... I appreciate... What I want is...

This is exactly what Zan does at the core of his expression. In fact he often cycles different things he reacts to (I noticed), how it makes him feel (I appreciate) and his statement of intention (what I want is).

This assertive statement is commonly mistaken as a compliment, which it is not. (See my post of Appreciation vs Approval.)

If you are new to authentic assertive expression, stick with the simple 3-part formula. Don't think of it so much as filling in the blanks, but just the three things you should convey... what you noticed... why you like it... and what you would like her to do. It will allow you to make much more self-empowering approaches than anything else out there...

"I noticed your incredibly beautiful necklace! I appreciate your sense of style. What I want is to get to know someone so stylish!"

"I noticed your sexy red lipstick! It's so feminine and I appreciate that. I think you might be someone I'd like to get to know!"

"Wow, look at you in that dress! You look spectacular. I was over there and I saw you standing over here, and I just had to come say hello... Tell you what, why don't you cancel your plans and come out with me this evening? We will celebrate!"

What can you come up with?

Remember, as long as you express yourself like this with no presumption and no hidden agenda, you will be dancing in a moment ripe with possibilities.

Love life,


Blogger miko said...

Im so glad you are commenting again. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts.
Thank you

May 18, 2009  
Blogger Erika said...

OMG, GoneSavage, you are back ... and you are back with a vengeance! This article ROCKS. I am so happy you are bringing NVC into your writing. EVERY community guy needs to read this article. Thank you!!

Woo hoo!


May 18, 2009  
Blogger Benedict Smith said...

assertiveness and being up front makes for better LTR anyhow. the hidden agenda never stays hidden for long.

May 18, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great post. I'm curious if you are modifying the NVC structure for your needs or if that's how they are teaching it.

As best I know the structure has 4 parts: Observation, Feelings, Needs, and a Request. You don't list a need or a request, but state a want, are you combining the last two into a want?


p.s. This sounds more assertive anyway, as a want sounds more dominant than a need.

May 19, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of this is what Charisma Arts says. I-statements in particular seem to be a Juggler Method staple, too. I think we should give them as well as Zan a nod, because too often the honest, not so flashy teachers get overlooked

May 19, 2009  

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