When You’re a Contemplator Communicating with an Assertor

You love details and focusing on what can go wrong. She soars above it all, focusing on the goal and ignoring obstacles until they impede her progress. You both love the challenge and excitement of a good fight. Criticism only spurs the two of you onward. In many ways, a contemplator working with an assertor is a great team.

You want your loved one to make decisions, and you have the skills necessary to support and troubleshoot those decisions, and you both care more about being right than pleasing other people. However, problems can erupt when you and the assertor disagree about goals, or when the assertor chooses an option that you don’t like. Even when you’re working together, you may cause disunion among a larger family group, as other communication types can feel left out and marginalized when the two of you get to work.

Finally, you like to make calm, considered decisions, while the assertor can be more of a ‘snap judgment’ type. You’ll need to match your pacing and skills to hers if you want to reach the best possible decision.

Quick Tips for Contemplator-Assertor Conversations

  • DO come prepared with relevant facts. The assertor won’t want to wait for you to gather information.
  • DO take time to listen to their view before you launch into yours.
  • DO try to make them aware of important details.
  • DO think about how the decision-making process affects others in your circle of family and friends.
  • DON’T try to highlight every possible negative outcome. Focus on the 3-5 most important obstacles to overcome.

Balance Personalities When a Contemplator Meets an Assertor

When you’re communicating with an assertor, your biggest challenge is to strike a balance and be prepared for quick action. Assertors are decisive. They allow a limited time for information gathering and thought, and then follow their gut impulses. You like to work decisions over, and may go back and forth a few times before you settle on your ideal solution.

To facilitate conversation with an assertor, come prepared. Gather your facts and information before you meet. Work through potential solutions ahead of time. Arrive at the conversation ready to listen, speak your piece, and make a decision.

If you feel as if your assertor is making a poor decision, outline your objections concisely, with a focus on the facts. If the ultimate decision is yours, not hers, expect pushback if she doesn’t agree with you. Explain your reasons for your decision as clearly and concisely as possible.

Both contemplators and assertors value being right more than they value reaching a consensus. If you and the assertor can’t agree on a decision, it’s a good idea to ask a third party to act as a moderator to help you both express your concerns and wishes, and to suggest possible compromises. Remember, when you’re dealing with aging loved ones, the ultimate goal is not to be right or to win, but to meet their needs respectfully and lovingly.

Learn more about communicating with an assertor here.