I’ve been taking a class. One of the many topics we’re discussing is assertiveness. There’s an accompanying book. Even the title, which contains the word “assertive,” kinda makes me feel like I need to go poo. I do not like being assertive. I don’t even look at myself in the mirror a lot because I feel like somebody is looking at me. And it’s just me!
I don’t like to talk a lot in groups because then people look at me.
I don’t really even like the sound of my own voice.
I have a hard time maintaining eye contact. People who are big on eye contact make me nervous. I’d rather just stare at the ground when I talk. And trying to maintain eye contact makes my eyes hurt like I’m crossing them. I probably am!
There is a sort of diagnostic multiple-choice quiz at the back of the book to help the reader determine where they are on the passive-assertive-aggressive continuum. Next to every question I wrote down my choice. Question 1: a teenytiny “p” out to the side. Qestion 2: teeny p. Question 3: little p. All wee p’s. p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p
According to this book, I’ve been living my life, just, incorrectly. And I’m really trying to make an effort, but it’s just not going well. Because what I’m basically doing is trying to be preemptive. See, I’m thinking, “Maybe preemptive should be added to the assertiveness continuum.”
For instance. Say people cut in front of me at the deli counter all the time. I could be A) passive: let them. B) assertive: say, “Excuse me, I believe I was here first.” (Or whatever– whatever it is that assertive people say.) Or C) aggressive: I punch somebody in the face and say, “Who you think you are, ho?! You better crawl back outta this store, ho!” (Or whatever aggressive people say, I don’t know.) Or……..D) preemptive: circle the deli counter until I see that nobody is waiting, run like heck to that glass deli meat bubble and throw my body against it in such a way that it makes a big thuwunking sound. The deli worker looks up. I say, “Hi. How are you? Doing ok? I’d like some meat. I need like three different things, just to get that out there. But the first thing is ham, that one there please, and sliced very thin, like a one. Thanks. I’ll just be right here.” Another preemptive response would be to circle the deli counter, and attempt to make a break for it when there’s a gap, but if a person beats you there, turn and continue circling. This is actually exercise. Nobody is harmed. It’s a win-win. That other person gets his/her deli meat; I get some more exercise.
Another example, and this one is totally short. A salesperson tries to get me to purchase something. A) passive: buy it. B) Say, “No thank you. I’m just browsing.” (Or whatever the heck assertive people say.) Or C) Punch somebody in the face and say, “Who you think you are, ho?! You better crawl back outta this store, ho!” Or D)……..buy everything I ever need off the Internet!!!!!
Pre emp tive.
That’s what I’m talking about.
I need to write a book. I feel brilliant.
Want one more? Cause I could go on and on. Alright, straight out of the back of the book: When talking to another person, I: A) can’t make eye contact, B) Look directly and steadily at them, C) Stare them down like downtown, or D)….
…Don’t talk to the people!!! Any of the people! Ever!