The first rule of narrator-assertor communications is ‘stand your ground.’ Assertors often mistake your quiet, detail-oriented nature for a lack of interest or of an opinion, and will charge right past you in their single-minded pursuit of their goals. While you hate conflict, trying to avoid it in this case will leave you without any input at all.
Meanwhile, hard-charging, impulsive assertors actually need your help. Your ability to spot difficulties, solve problems, and think strategically means that you can give your assertor necessary information for making a truly good decision. When the two of you work together, you can both develop solutions and take immediate action on them.
Quick Tips for Narrator-Assertor Conversations
- DO prepare for some drama and conflict. It’s how many assertors self-motivate.
- DO stand up for yourself and your own needs, even if it exhausts you.
- DO remind the assertor about how their actions affect other family members and friends.
- DO gather and organize information before the conversation. Assertors like to make decisions quickly.
- DON’T take the assertor’s bluster and criticism personally. It’s not actually about you at all.
When a Narrator Works with an Assertor, It Helps to Have Thick Skin
Narrators have a habit of retreating from a situation when they feel hurt or undervalued. While this is an understandable survival strategy, it will hamper your attempts to communicate with an assertor. If you want to help your assertor make decisions about touchy subjects like health, finances, and their personal lives, you’ll need to stretch beyond your comfort zone and be ready to deal with conflict.
Assertors tend to criticize and pick fights partially because that’s how they motivate themselves to act and achieve. They see the negativity as a challenge, something to disprove through action. Meanwhile, you take personal attacks, well, personally, and they hurt. When you deal with an assertor, you just have to ignore the opinion and focus on the facts. Keeping the discussion fact-centered keeps them focused on decision-making, rather than on their rather questionable motivation techniques.
Assertors tend to consider only their needs and wants when they make a decision, so you’ll also have to advocate for the interests of other loved ones, even if they’re not present. Luckily, you excel at building consensus. In some ways, you’ll be acting as a moderator between the assertor’s needs and those of the absent parties. As a narrator, you often function better when you’re defending others and their interests, so this dynamic actually plays to your strengths as a communicator.
Finally, while you like to think strategically, research, and work through decisions with an eye towards minimizing risk of failure, assertors are whirlwinds. They thrive on risk, love taking action, and make decisions with their guts. To ensure that the ‘gut decision’ is also a good one, do your research and strategizing before you sit down to talk with the assertor. Then you can both minimize conversation time and maximize the odds of a good decision.