On Thursday I got to work, parked my car, and took my usual route in. Then I saw a coworker that had been kind of ignoring my requests at work for a few weeks.
One of the manifestations of my lack of assertiveness is that I e-mail coworkers when I need help instead of just going directly to them.
The company I work at is really trying to build a culture where people just go to other people when they need help. And I’m working on building that culture within me too.
But in the meantime, I still e-mail people. Maybe my goals for next week can be specifically related to this – no e-mailing people when I can just go to their desk. Ahhh just writing this makes me anxious.
Moving on, to this past week instead of next week.
So on Thursday, I saw this guy who had been kind of making my project a whole lot harder than it needed to be, and in the most epic bout of not-assertive I actually took a different route from my car into the building so that I wouldn’t have to interact with him.
So that totally happened. And I laughed to myself about how not assertive it was and moved on with my day.
A few hours later I tested my assertiveness. To me this story is both a loss and a win. It is a loss because I asserted myself over text which I don’t really believe is true assertion. It is a win because of what I did after.
Something that I’ve always struggled with is friends not responding to my texts. There are different levels of frustration depending on the friend and the nature of the text. But after a week of being ignored several times by the same friend (a complicated friendship to boot) I decided his continuing lack of answers was a perfect opportunity to assert myself.
I took some time drafting a text, making sure to acknowledge his feelings and circumstances while directly making my request.
I simply told him when friends don’t respond to my texts it upsets me and asked that he please try to get back to me in a more timely manner, especially if I have asked him a question.
As I sat there, waiting I felt nauseous and anxious. Eventually he apologized, answered my question, and invited me to drinks later.
Now this is where my real win comes. When I saw him later that evening I didn’t apologize for the text or for asserting myself. Not even during gaps in the conversation. I just let it be.