Questions and Answers including to Assertiveness

Q:  What if I do become more assertive and I use what I have learned in my relationships, in my office work, or with friends; I even learned to say “no”. What if people get angry with me?

A:  People who are truly your friends are not going to get mad at you. Real friends want you to learn and grow as a person. They will probably be happy for you now that you have learned to stop being a doormat. True friends want the best for you; in fact, they may have been secretly worried about you being such a pushover.

As for your spouse, if your partner truly loves you and wants the best for you, he/she will rejoice that you are learning to be more assertive and growing as a person. Your spouse’s own life will be enriched by your experience. You will be more self-confident and happy, thereby making both of your lives better.
If you apply these skills to your job, your boss and co-workers will have more respect for you. At work, it can mean getting a promotion, being assigned new and interesting challenges, or maybe even a raise. When your boss sees your capability to take control, handle crises, remain calm, and maintain poise, he will begin to see you in a completely new light.

Standing up for yourself makes a huge difference in the way people look at you and in how they treat you, especially at the office. It may be true that you cannot please everyone with your newly acquired skill. The ones who will not like the new you are probably the ones who used to push you around and took advantage of you at every turn. Do not worry; they will get over it.

Stop depriving yourself of the respect due to you. Be assertive and earn other people’s respect. Be in control of your life and feel more self-confident. Your life will never be the same again.
Q:  If others do get angry with me, how do I handle it? What if I fall apart?

A:  If you use these new skills appropriately, things will change, situations will improve and yes, you will earn the ire of some people. As previously pointed out, those who will get angry are probably the ones who used to mistreat you. However, you are improving your own life and protecting your rights. They are upset because they can no longer push you around, infringe on your personal rights, and pass on to you the jobs they do not wish to do.

That is why they are angry. Bear in mind that you are not responsible for their feelings. They will have to deal with their feelings. It is now their problem, not yours.

Q: Are my friends going to get mad when I start telling them “no” all the time?

A: They would be more upset to know that you have been saying “yes” to everyone, when you really mean to say “no”. Agreeing to things that you really do not want to do will make you feel resentful towards that person. You hate feeling that way towards friends, right? It is almost as if you have been lying to them.

Being assertive and saying “no” is a more honest approach, don’t you think? Or would you rather risk destroying their love and respect just because you cannot say “no”?

Q: What about saying “no” at work; won’t that get me in trouble?

A: By agreeing to everything that everyone wants you to do at work, you will find that you simply cannot keep up with all the work. There are just so many hours in a day. If you say “yes” to everything, you are cheating yourself and the others who are depending on you to finish what you said you would do.
Doing shoddy work is not going to impress anyone. By taking on too much, you would not have the time to do a good job on everything. By limiting the number of jobs you accept, you are actually doing everyone a favor. If you keep the workload down, you can do a great job on your assignments. This is what will impress people. It is better to cut the workload and finish everything well, than to take on too much and finish nothing.

Q: What if someone asks me to do something I know I can easily accomplish and yet, I say “no”; will he think that I’m selfish or self-centered?

A: Just because you can do something does not mean you have to do it. You can refuse even legitimate requests assertively. Sometimes, you have to put your own needs ahead of others. You cannot please everyone all the time and you do not have to. Bitterness will grow if you let the guilt get to you and make you a ‘yes’ person all the time.

Q: If I’m assertive about what I know and what I can do, won’t that make me sound egocentric? Shouldn’t I be more modest?

A: Being assertive and let people know you are clever and skilled is not being immodest or egocentric. Sometimes you have to toot your own horn, so to speak, and there is nothing wrong with that. If you do not do it, who will? Sometimes being modest is not a good thing. It makes you sound like you cannot say anything positive about yourself. It also indicates that you cannot give or receive compliments.

Q: If I toot my own horn, as you say, won’t people expect me to be great 100% of the time? What if I screw up?

A: Without being assertive and letting others know of your skills and accomplishments, you will miss out many opportunities. Since no one is perfect, you will make mistakes occasionally. Own up to them and learn from them, then move on.

Even if you mess up once in a while, you will be respected far more for giving it your best shot than by not trying at all. As Wayne Gretzky, the hockey player said, “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Q: I’m a woman and I’m not sure it’s considered feminine to be assertive all the time. Men can get away with it, but not women. Will men in my office hate me if I try to be assertive in the workplace?

A: It is unfortunate that assertive women often have more trouble at work than their male counterparts. However, that should not stop any woman from standing up for herself in the workplace. If you possess the skills necessary for the job and have the experience and the drive, you can assert yourself and get what you want. A woman in a management position may find herself walking in a fine line. She must be assertive in order to do her job, but may be thought of as pushy or unfeminine when she does. Oddly enough, studies done on this topic showed that the criticism came mostly from other women, not the men in the workplace. Someone once said that we should learn to live without the good opinions of others. If your career is important to you, you will have to learn to be assertive and be selective about considering other people’s opinions.