Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hump Day Hmmm. . . February 20, 2008

This is my 100'th post! Feel free to do the happy dance with me if you'd like.

Over at Julie's Using My Words blog, this week's Hump Day Hmm post is: "Topic for this week: How and When Do You Use Your Words...Social Scenarios"

I have reacted in different ways to several of the scenarios that Julie provided. However, instead of actually writing out a scenario where my friends were hosting a party, and I was not invited and my different reactions to that when it has happened several times, I am setting a goal on how to react in the future.

In the past, I have used a very agressive technique. ( defines agressive as pushy or negaitve.) Instead, I have decided to be assertive. (Definition from of assertive is confidently agressive, self assured; positive.) I can speak up but do it in a positive fashion. For instance, in the past, when my friends have hosted a party and "conveniently" forgotten to invite me, I have reacted with hurtful, impassioned speaches about how they must really not be my friend and asked why they were rude enough to try not to include everyone.

In the future, (although I have pretty much come out of contact with the people who were like that) when I find myself or my kids uninvited to a party, and my friends are talking about it around me, I'll just say, "I guess my invitation must have gotten lost in the mail. What was I supposed to bring again?" It's an assertive way without trying to hurt anyone's feelings. If they say, "Well, there's just not room enough to invite everyone," then I'll say, OK, I can deal with that. I probably just won't be hanging out with those people much any more.

As for sticky customer service situations, I am going to state my position without acting angry. Something I have learned the hard way in the recent past is that acting angry hardly ever, if ever gets good results. However, when I'm calm, but I stick to my guns and quietly don't back down, the desired things happens, and I walk away feeling that justice wins again.


Julie Pippert said...

Yep, anger doesn't usually net results. But neither does softpedaling it to the point it's not clear or you imply you'll back down. The examples my parents set were:

Mom: timid, never or rarely stood up, easily bowed to authority, gave in, sugarcoated

Dad: got angry, blustered, etc.

It took me a while to learn about the middle ground and more time yet to figure out how to operate regularly from there. :)

That's the tempering the temper.

So you are so right and your goal is excellent! You'll do it, you've committed to it.

le35 said...

Thanks Julie. I have one sister who is great at being assertive. She's also very tactful. I, on the other hand, have very little tact. I don't really know how to be tactful. (I know that sounds strange.) My sister can say anything or do anything tactfully but assertively, and she gets things done. Sometimes she get frustrated, but she doesn't let the frustration take over. When she wants to take something back to the store, she does it. If she has a problem with one of us siblings, she helps us work it out in a happy, loving fashion. Someday, I want to grow up to be like her.

Annie said...

I've worked in Customer Service, unfortunately dealing with complaints about our Bank (yes, I was busy!) - angry customers always, always made a bad situation worse. I could always handle, and was always much more willing to work with customers who could calmly state their issues, and let me work with them in accommodating a solution. I've used this experience when handling my own complaints, with very positive results. As they say - you catch more bees with honey, than vinegar!

Great post.

Annie said...

Congrats on the 100th post by the way - I just had mine recently, too!

thailandchani said...

There was a time when I would have handled those situations in the same way you describe. I have a rather formidable temper and squeal loudly when my toes get stepped on.

I had to consciously choose, as you have, to do it differently.

The results would be the same though. If I'm not invited or not included in something, my automatic reaction is to distance myself.

Robert said...

I think the distinction you make between agression and assertiveness is a great point and good advice. I definitely get more done when I make it clear I expect help and won't back down, but I am calm about it. I only turn to aggressive behavior when the assertiveness is stonewalled by 1) apathy, 2) incompetence, or 3) open hostility. I've had some real doozies in customer service (read: insurance company, former cell phone provider) that needed their butts chewed. I've definitely gotten better at keeping my cool, though. I still appreciate being told by one person who wasn't cooperating "It pisses me off that I can't make you react to me."

le35 said...

I think that the point is to finish what you need to get done. I'm never proud of myself after agressive behavior or showing anger. Also, I almost never walk away from a situation like that having accomplished anything except showing that I know how to throw a tantrum as well as my three year old can.

However, with assertive behavior, things get done. In one instance (a SLOW supposed to be fast food restaurant) I decided simply to fill out the comment card. However, I wish I had gone up to the counter and said something big about it because things would have gotten done. I should rarely if ever just walk away and be someone's doormat.

melissa said...

Yea for the 100th post! No list? :)

Assertive is good. I need to work on that some more.

BTW..don't know if Robert told you, but my MIL was reading my blog and I didn't know about it. It's been a drama filled day here, let me tell you...

le35 said...

Lovely, Melissa. Your Mom-in-law won't "talk to that woman," but she'll read your blog. Something tells me that there's more to her story than she's letting on. I hope that things start going better for you! Also, maybe being assertive for a little while with her now that she knows where you really stand might work out. Maybe if you don't fight back but just keep standing up for yourself, it could help. Good luck.

Robert said...

Yes, I definitely think being assertive has its place over being aggressive and generally over being meek. I don't know that fast food is the place I choose to pick my battles because of my concern they'll spit in the food, but I definitely agree that one shouldn't continue to frequent a place that's giving poor service. If I have a clear line of sight to the kitchen, I suppose I'd be more comfortable complaining in that setting.

Angela said...

I, too, find that when I state my feelings calmly and honestly, I walk away feeling more satisfied. When the anger leaks through, while I may still get the results I needed to get...I walk away feeling like an idiot, and that just destroys the whole experience.

Suki said...

:). I agree.

I feel insecurity is what breeds anger and needless aggression. I'm still trying to get over that.

It's interesting that I should be scrolling through your blog for the first time, at a point in life when most of your reflective posts are quite relevant to me.
Thanks for writing, I might not always comment but I'll certainly keep reading :)
PS: Your babies are incredibly cute.