9 phrases that instantly make you seem self-assured and decisive

by Tina Fey | December 11, 2023, 10:43 pm

Assertiveness is a trait often associated with natural-born leaders, yet it’s not as elusive as you might think.

You see, being decisive and self-assured doesn’t mean you’re being pushy. You’re just expressing your thoughts clearly, confidently, and respectfully.

And guess what?

A lot of it boils down to the phrases you use in your daily conversations.

As someone who’s struggled with assertiveness in the past, I’ve found that altering my language has made a world of difference in how others perceive me.

In this article, I am going to share with you 9 phrases that can instantly make you seem self-assured and decisive. 

1) “I respect your opinion, but I see it differently”

Sometimes we mistakenly assume that assertiveness is squashing the views of others. But actually, it’s more about clearly expressing your own.

One of the phrases that can make you come across as decisive and self-assured is: “I respect your opinion, but I see it differently”.

This phrase isn’t confrontational.

It conveys that you value the other person’s perspective but have a different viewpoint.

It’s polite, yet firm.

Why does it work?

Simply because it acknowledges the other person’s perspective, showing that you’ve listened and considered their point of view.

The ‘but’ then smoothly transitions into your own stance, allowing you to express a differing opinion without coming across as confrontational.

Therefore, it’s a phrase that balances humility with confidence.

2) “I appreciate your input, however, this is the decision I’ve made”

Ever heard of the psychological concept of ‘decisional balance‘?

This term refers to the pros and cons a person considers when making a decision.

When you’re truly decisive, you weigh these factors, make a decision, and then stand by it.

The phrase “I appreciate your input, however, this is the decision I’ve made” embodies this concept beautifully.

It shows that you’ve considered other perspectives (hence showing respect), but have weighed your options and made your own decision.

But here’s the kicker:

By stating your decision clearly and openly, you’re also demonstrating self-assuredness.

You’re showing that you trust your judgment enough to make a call and stick with it.

And what’s even better, this phrase shuts down any room for doubt and positions you as someone who’s confident and assertive.

3) “I understand where you’re coming from, but let’s try this approach”

Interestingly, being assertive and decisive doesn’t always mean sticking to your initial decision.

It also means having the confidence to steer things in a new direction when needed.

Let me explain how this works:

Say you’ve made a decision, but then you receive new information that changes the landscape.

That’s where the phrase “I understand where you’re coming from, but let’s try this approach” comes in.

It acknowledges the other person’s perspective (showing you’re open-minded) and then introduces a different approach (showing decisiveness).

A bit counterintuitive, right?

Well, changing your decision based on new information actually shows strength and self-assuredness.

It shows that you’re not stubbornly clinging to a decision just because it is yours.

Instead, you’re able to adapt and make the best choice for the current circumstances.

4) “Let’s agree to disagree”

In situations where neither you nor the other person are willing to budge from your viewpoint, this phrase can be a lifeline.

How so?

Saying this means that you’re you’re confident in your stance, yet respectful of others’ differing opinions.

The thing is that the purpose of assertiveness is not winning every argument or always having the last word.

This trait just shows that you know when to hold your ground and when to let go. 

That’s why I consider this phrase ideal — it can help diffuse tension and prevent a discussion frospiralingng into an unproductive argument.

Okay, it may not resolve the disagreement, but it surely acknowledges it in a respectful manner and allows for communication to continue constructively.

5) “I believe in my ability to… “

Self-belief is the cornerstone of self-assuredness.

And one of the best ways to convey this is through the phrase: “I believe in my ability to…”

This phrase is powerful because it:

  • Shows you trust your skills and capabilities
  • Expresses confidence in your potential to succeed
  • Reinforces your commitment to a task or goal

When you voice your belief in yourself, it not only bolsters your own confidence but also impacts how others perceive you.

People are more likely to trust and respect those who display genuine self-belief.

So, don’t shy away from expressing your belief in your abilities.

It’s a key aspect of demonstrating self-assuredness and decisiveness. 

6) “I’ll need to think this over”

Decision-making can sometimes be a pressure cooker situation, right?

Most of us often feel the need to respond immediately, especially when others are waiting for us.

But here’s the thing: haste rarely leads to the best outcomes.

That’s where the phrase, “I’ll need to think this over”, gets especially effective.

You’re right, it might seem like a stalling tactic. But trust me, it’s a powerful tool in your assertiveness toolkit.

Personally, when I started using this phrase, I noticed a significant shift.

It gave me the space to make mindful decisions instead of hasty reactions.

And you know what?

The quality of my decisions indeed improved.

Let’s not equate speed with decisiveness. And remember, it’s perfectly okay (and often wise) to take some time to mull things over before making a decision.

7) “I see the value in that, yet I must decline”

Imagine you’re at work, and a colleague asks you to take on an additional project.

You can see that it’s an interesting project, but your plate is already full.

Do you simply say yes to avoid disappointing your colleague? Or do you stand your ground, even if it might lead to some temporary discomfort?

In such instances, the phrase “I see the value in that, yet I must decline” can be your saving grace.

This sentence acknowledges the worth of the request but also highlights your need to decline.

It’s a well-balanced response that combines appreciation with assertiveness.

That’s how you can maintain boundaries without seeming dismissive or uncooperative.

8) “I am confident we can find a solution”

During my early days as a team leader, I often found myself in situations where conflicts would arise, and tensions would run high.

It was in one such situation that I realized the power of the phrase “I am confident we can find a solution”.

The beauty of this phrase lies in its ability to both diffuse tension and assert leadership.

It reassures others that you’re not only aware of the issue, but you’re also confident in your team’s ability to resolve it.

Even though it’s a simple phrase, it actually projects self-assuredness by showcasing your optimism and faith in your team’s problem-solving abilities.

In psychological terms, it acts as a social nudge that encourages others to shift their focus from the problem to the solution.

9) “I stand by my decision”

Here we are, at our final point.

If there’s one phrase that personifies decisiveness, it’s “I stand by my decision”.

This phrase is simplicity itself, yet it’s incredibly powerful. Why?

Because it communicates that you’ve made your decision and that you’re ready to back it up.

Remember, decisiveness isn’t just just making a decision — it means that you can own it.

Regardless of the outcome, standing by your decision shows that you take responsibility for your choices.

And the best part?

This phrase leaves no room for ambiguity. It tells others that you’re not just decisive but also confident in your decision-making abilities.

Will you take the leap towards assertiveness?

As we wrap up, consider this: mastering the art of being self-assured and decisive is not an overnight process.

It’s a journey that requires practice and conscious effort.

Now that you already know these phrases, I encourage you to experiment with them in your daily interactions.

Watch how they change the dynamics of your conversations and, more importantly, how they start to change your perception of yourself.

Assertiveness is within your reach, and with each step, and each word, you get closer to becoming the self-assured, decisive individual you aspire to be.

Will you take that leap?

The journey to assertiveness begins with a single phrase, a single choice to express yourself authentically and confidently.

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