Assertive at Christmas

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10-minute read, December 2023

By Aleksandra Parus

What NOT to want for Christmas?

Are you one of those who feels fed up with Christmas? 

Every year you promise yourself that this time it will be different, and then, you end up exhausted by hectic preparations and all the family gatherings.

What kind of Christmas do you really want for yourself this year? 

How can you make that happen?

You could start by answering the question: 

What DON’T I want this Christmas?

Knowing your own boundaries is the first step to keep them safe. What next? Enjoy practicing assertiveness.

Be Assertive While Shopping

I’m in a rush. Can I queue-jump?”

How do you react? Let them in without a second thought? Or would you maintain your boundaries and stay assertive?

As research shows people are willing to give way to hearing even stupid excuses. Are they in a rush? Of course! So are we!

So don’t react automatically. Take a deep breath and say “No”.

“No” is a complete sentence. However, if you want to sound more polite you can add “I’m in a rush as well”.

Planning your Christmas Break​

Have you received too many invitations? And it’s impossible to visit all the family members?

If you decide not to spend hours driving from one location to another for the whole holiday season, you will have to decline some of the invitations in an assertive manner. How? Look at the simple steps below:

  1. Express understanding: I know that it is important for you to have me on Christmas Eve and thank you for the invitation.
  2. Express denial: I won’t come, though.
  3. Express reason: I would rather spend Christmas dinner with my husband and children this year.
  4. Propose a different solution: I can visit you on the second day of Christmas.

Polite NO at the Table

Help yourself to another dumpling? Don’t you like my dumplings?”

Such emotional manipulation can destroy your Christmas resolutions not to overeat. How to cope with that?

Use assertive refusal as in the previous example. In case of really stubborn family members, you may want to use a secret weapon – the broken record technique. It is a verbal response which firmly and clearly expresses your feelings or opinions. It tends to work well every time somebody wants to argue or doesn’t want to listen. 

How to use it? You simply need to keep repeating the same statement until the other person gives in. Remember to change words and paraphrase yourself so as not to sound annoying.

How to say NO to “another dumpling”?

  • No, I don’t want another one, thank you.
  • No, thank you. I’ve had enough.
  • Thank you, I’ve already had some.
  • I’m good, thank you. I’ve had plenty.
  • They are delicious but I’m already full.
  • I’ve never eaten better dumplings. I will need to say PASS, though.
  • No.

So this Christmas, let assertiveness be your ally, guiding you toward a celebration that truly resonates with your desires and values.

Too many of us fail to fulfill our needs because we say no rather than yes,

yes when we should say no.

– William Glasser

about the author:

Aleksandra Parus – psychologist, trainer, and coach specialized in interpersonal communication with extensive experience conducting training sessions on diverse interpersonal and management competencies. Passionate about observing individual transformation and personal development. Holds 13 years of dedicated involvement in the business sector.

Contact her HERE

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