L.A.D.D.E.R.: A working Plan for Dealing with the Problem Assertively

Look at your rights, what you want, what you need, and your feelings about the situation. Let go of blame, the desire to hurt, and self-pity. Define your goal and keep it in mind when you negotiate for change.

Arrange a time and place to discuss your problem that is convenient for you and for the other person. This step may be excluded when dealing with spontaneous situations in which you choose to be assertive.

Define the problem situation as specifically as possible.

Describe your feelings using "I message." An "I message" expresses your feelings without evaluating or blaming others. Rather than say, "You are inconsiderate" or "You hurt me," the I message would be, "I feel hurt." I messages connect the feelings statement with specific behaviors of the other person.

Express your request in one or two easy-to-understand sentences. Be specific and firm!

Reinforce the possibility of getting what you want by stating the positive consequences should the other person cooperate with you. If necessary, state the negative consequences for failure to cooperate.


D: DESCRIBE the behavior which you do not like.

E: EXPRESS your feelings regarding the behavior, using an "I" statement.

S: SPECIFY a more acceptable behavior, either with or without the input of the person(s) with whom you are experiences the conflict. This can best be done by listing alternative behaviors and coming to agreement upon one of them.

C: developing CONSEQUENCES, both positive and negative, might be helpful, especially if previous efforts at resolving the conflict have led to mistrust. This need not be done if trust is present.


A = Antecedent or activating incident, conflict situation, happening, occurrence, or event.

B = Belief system: Self talk -- what you tell yourself about A, the situation.

C = Consequential emotions, behavior, or thoughts (can be positive or negative).

D = Dispute the beliefs.

E = Effect on the consequential emotions, behaviors or thoughts.