Women have the unfortunate disadvantage of being labelled a bitch when they’re really just trying to stand up for themselves. I myself have this problem, and struggle with it every day. While I may constantly fail at being considered ‘assertive’ and instead always get labelled a bitch, I still know the do’s and dont’s:
1. Choose your battles. As women, we have to always think ahead. If something is bothering you and you want to change it, make sure it is important. Is the thing that is bothering you very urgent and serious? Or should you save your breath for something more important down the road. Over-assertiveness will get you the Bitch Award overnight if you aren’t careful.
2. Watch your tone. Make sure you don’t come off as too forceful or too wimpy when you confront the person/people who are doing you wrong. If you come off too forceful, not only will you come off as a bitch but your point will be quickly forgotten. As women, people always assume we’re moody or hormonal. If you come off as too upset- the person you’re directing your assertiveness towards will just think you’re in a bad mood, and won’t take your points to heart. Don’t come off too wimpy or weak either, or else the same assumptions (moodiness, hormones) will be applied.
3. Have several examples. When something is upsetting you, make sure it has happened more than once. People make mistakes, and if something bothers you and only happened once- then perhaps it’s too soon to call the person on it. Make sure you can recall at least 3 separate occassions where the incident occured, and if the person seems confused or surprised that you’re bringing it up- you can list these occassions as ‘proof’. And remember Rule #2 when you do this. Don’t be whiny or nasty about it.
4. Know what needs to be done to resolve the problem. Don’t go into addressing a problem without having a solution in mind. If you confront someone about something you want them to change, know what needs to be done to make both parties happy. Especially with men, what you’re going to hear in response to your complaint is going to be “what do you want me to do” or something along those lines. So make sure you have a suggestion ready.
5. Say Thank you. It is important to say ‘thank you’ after someone takes the time to listen to your issue. Also make sure to acknowledge any positive changes that occur after the fact as well. If someone makes the effort to change to help solve your issue, thank them.