Of all the dubious many, many qualities for which those who are forced to tolerate me my friends put up with cherish me, the quality of assertiveness is not one.  In fact, it could be said that I would rather take 15 minutes out of my day to write a letter and sound like a something that rhymes with “witch” but with a “b” at the front than to take 5 minutes to talk to someone face to face to clear up a situation that instead could drag on for days. 

That could be said.

When it comes to confrontation, or what it perceived to be confrontation, such as if someone asks “how are you today”, my brain freezes, my tongue ties and I go into hasty retreat mode.  In fact, I would much rather deal with confrontation by having the someone with whom I am confronting read my mind without me ever having to open my lips and have my very wishes and desires acted upon immediately without murmurs or complaining so that everything in my world could continue on as before and I would not be forced to, you know, state an opinion or take a stance.

So, case in point, was the afore-mentioned situation with Lowe’s. Instead of calmly asking to see the manager when I was told “ix-nay on the exchange”, my brain came to a standstill (apart from the being really pissed off part) and I toddled off like a good little girl in order to “not make a scene” and to not “take it out on the guy at the counter who was just doing his job” when actually I could have just asked to speak to the manager, told him the story straight from this horse’s mouth and been finished with everything in 2 shakes.  But instead I fussed and fumed all the way home, passively complained to T and aggressively wrote a letter of complaint to Lowe’s.

The upshot is, of course, a full exchange of paint and an apology from not one but two managers, whose tender feelings (and reprimands from higher ups—see, I’m all worried about getting them in trouble now) could have been spared if I had not worried so much about coming off as a witch with a “b” but instead acted as any NORMAL person would have done had they been in my no-mind-reading-going-on-here position.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. The Mom
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 08:45:50

    You achieved your goal. No matter the path you chose to get there.


  2. Sharon
    Feb 09, 2009 @ 12:31:54

    We must be twins at some level. I was telling mathman about your paint exploits at Lowe’s, and he asked me, “Why didn’t she ask to see the manager in person?” and well, how does a non-assertive answer that when the inquirer is a normal assertive person who just doesn’t get it. But I do. Completely. I would have done EXACTLY the same thing as you, but I probably would have put my back out of joint (as well as my nose) in the process of lifting the paint can and ended with a hefty doctor’s bill for my inability to assert myself.


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