Option 4: Be assertive

Assertive communication involves a person clearly stating their needs, wants and feelings whilst still being respectful of others. Learning to be assertive takes practice, so don’t worry if it doesn’t come naturally.

Assertive communication includes three steps:

  1. Stating your answer;
  2. Giving your reason;
  3. Showing understanding.

The following is an example of assertive communication:

Tom: Just have one pill, it will be fun.

Alexia: No thanks I don’t want to risk it even though it sounds fun, I have to study for an assessment coming up and need a clear head.

Showing this understanding makes it very difficult for people to keep trying to exert pressure and most people will stop. There will still be the odd person who will keep trying, but most people will stop. If you’re comfortable with your decision not to use drugs, that will come across in your body language.

Usually people will see that it's a waste of their time and will drop the subject pretty quickly. This can be achieved by:

  • Keeping a clear firm voice, speaking clearly and deliberately;
  • Maintaining eye contact;
  • Facing the person with your body so that you do not look like you are hiding;
  • Having a facial expression that says what you mean.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.