Now, not to brag or anything, but my mama raised me right. I was always taught to say Please and Thank you, excuse myself from the dinner table before getting up to do homework (alright, who am I kidding? It was more to watch MTV, write angsty poetry and/or try to sneak smoking cigarettes out of my basement window) and I always had to be polite. To everybody. Friends, neighbors, strangers, that disgusting kid with bad breath and UFO pants that sat next to me on the bus – everybody.
I don’t blame her for wanting me to grow up (not-so) tall and grow up right, but over the years I have found myself in a plethora of situations that have crossed that fine line between being polite and looking like a complete f!@#$cking pushover (sorry for the swear word, Mom!).
I’m the girl who will let you copy her notes from the entire semester before the final without asking for a single thing in return. I’m the girl who will pick you up from some random, I-swear-he-was-so-much-hotter-last-night guy’s house the morning after– even if we’ve only met twice. I’m the girl who will buy you beer (which includes picking it up and dropping it off at your doorstep) for the fourth time in a week and not mention the fact that you stiffed me about ten dollars.
And I’m the girl who – no matter how hard I try – can not for the life of me tell my douchebag ex-boyfriend to f@#ck off – and that NO, he can not completely plagiarize my paper from last semester even though I am, obviously, an amazing writer with an impeccable way with words.
Basically, I need to grow some balls.
A few of my faves:
1. Express yourself. Basically, when you have something to say – say it! Even if you feel that you missed your initial chance to speak your mind, the article says to “plan your strategy to bring up the issue privately later.” This means you need to tackle every issue you have, from arguments with your bitchy a$$ roommate about blasting Gorilla Zoe at all hours of the morning to explaining to your professor why you deserved an A- and not a B+ after you slaved away on the paper for hours (okay…an hour).
2. Stop being agreeable. Say what you feel even if it means – gasp! – going against the crowd. You’ll feel much better about yourself once you start telling people what it is that really bothers you. And if they don’t respect what you have to say? You obviously don’t need them in your life anyway. Just don’t get carried away or you might come off looking arrogant, conceited, or just plain bitchy.
3. Pick your battles. Pretty self-explanatory, but this part made me laugh: “Use caution around people who might be mentally unstable.” Seriously.
4. Start Small. Don’t expect to completely change over night. Start off by practicing your newfound assertiveness with people who don’t know you as well. Your BFF since freshman year has come to expect a certain response from you and this could make things difficult at first. But as soon as you can comfortably confront the salesperson at Aeropostale who, once again, tried to overcharge you for that cami that will most likely fall apart in a week, then it’s time for you to take on the people closest to you.
And, probably the most important tip of all:
7. Change your surroundings. If all else fails, and the people in your life refuse to see you as the amazing, confident, assertive bombshell that you are – cut them off. They’ve probably just got some issues themselves, and liked having a meek, timid friend around who would do whatever they say. Seriously, people can be messed up, but you, my friend, are not. So forget about them and introduce yourself to new people who will respect you for who you really are.
Being assertive doesn’t mean you can’t still be the thoughtful, generous, caring person you obviously are – it just means showing people that they need to take your needs seriously, too.
And, um, by the way, if you’re reading this douchebag ex…I’d really like my paper back.
You know, whenever you have the time.