Monday, 14 November 2016

On Being More Assertive

On Being More Assertive

There is the idea that women should be amenable, agreeable, meek. Eager to please and never make a fuss. Women aren't supposed to want anything, be needy. Heaven forbid we actually have the audacity to not only need something, but to ask for it.

This is something I guess I struggle with, but not that I noticed until prompted to think about it. I'm the kind of person who worries about others and what they think. Not necessarily of me, but of me hurting their feelings. This is something I'm always worrying about. I'm the same when asking for things. Not of my family, nor of my friends, but in other areas of my life.

A few weeks back, I went on a first date. It was kind of awkward at times, but in all, I thought it was a pretty good date. He, it seems, didn't. Apart from a polite end of the evening text, I didn't hear from him again. Ok, if he wasn't interested, fair enough, but I think it's only respectful to tell let me know rather than not replying when I get in touch about the possibility of a second date.

After discussing it with friends, I decided to just leave it, though I did want to send a text that in future he might want to respond to say he's not interested, as it's the decent thing to do. Very polite, very pleasant, with a "no hard feelings" vibe. But my friend convinced me that wouldn't actually change anything, nor make me feel much better, and she was right.

But... what if I sent a different kind of text? A text that I need - deserve - to be treated with respect, the least he could do is let me know he's not interested, that his only response being to unmatch me on Bumble was a dick move and not ok? That might have made me feel better. That would have shown - to myself - that I'm not ok with being treated like crap, and won't stand for it.

When it comes to my blogging life and chasing people up on things they're late to get back to me, my emails are peppered with phrases such as, "...if you don't mind?, "...if that's ok?", "Do you think you'll be able to...?" I end with, "No worries if not!" Despite the fact I've been let down, despite having to take the time to chase them. I worry about seeming too demanding, too unforgiving. Not nice enough. Look back at the polite and pleasant text I wanted to send to that guy. Still wanting to be nice and likable, even though I felt I'd not been treated very well.

And yet I never considered myself to be the type of woman who makes herself small and as affable as possible to please others, but it looks like that's exactly what I do. Perhaps I need to stop worrying about upsetting people, and simply asking for what I need. Are we not treated how we allow ourselves to be treated? If I don't try so hard to be amiable and instead be more outspoken with what I need, people will treat me with the respect that I deserve - that I want.

It's time to be a little more assertive, I think.

This post was inspired by Laura Jane Williams' #AskTheQuestion.

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