Role Playing for Assertiveness Training

Last Friday in our Interpersonal Effectiveness 2 group at DBT Path, we had an impromptu session of role playing with our students.

Using the following scale, we did a scenario of one person asking another to help them move:

Both the students and our co-facilitators got into our roles and practiced being on the side of asking and on the side of being able to say no, even when factors like the fear of rejection, being abandoned, or being disliked were present.

We talked about how realistic such fears are in the context of our current relationships and how much we really need to value a relationship with someone who might reject or abandon us if we need to say no to a request now and then to put our own self-care first.

A few days after the class, one of our students told us that her boss called her and said that he needed her to come into work on her day off.  Using the skills she learned in class on Friday, she told him she actually would not be able to do so because she really needed to use that day to study for finals.  The result?  Her boss was fine with it, and he asked someone else to cover that shift.

Our student was pleasantly delighted that her assertive response yielded the result she desired and with no negative consequences.

We have the right to say no when we do not want to comply with a request, especially an unreasonable one.  For those who are insecure or emotionally sensitive, this can be a challenge but can be learned with courage and practice.

For more information on skills that help in interactions with others, check out our online Interpersonal Effectiveness class, and consider joining us to learn more.

How do you feel you do with being able to say "no"?  What about being assertive in asking for your needs to be met?  Let us know in the comments section below.


  1. This is a very VERY useful skill!! We have the right to say no, but it is nice to learn polite ways to say no.

    1. Dear Romina -- thank you for your comment. It's so true -- it is a useful skill. We can learn ways to get our needs met while keeping our self respect in tact as well as being respectful of the other person's (sometimes very unique from ours) perspective. Have a great day!


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