Sex & Life
Sex & Life January 7, 2018
You have a right to the respect you deserve.
Whether you’re in a relationship, at work or at school, you’ve probably wondered how to stand up for yourself in an awkward situation. It seems like an impossible task to accomplish without seeming rude. However, this skill is not only necessary, but it shows just how much you respect yourself.
So without further ado, here’s how to stand up for yourself in a classy, yet deliberate fashion.
The central component of a supportive environment is solid friends. However, if you’ve had any “frenemies” in the past, your definition of “support” may have been corrupted. Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., a professor of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine, gave this advice to an individual struggling with a volatile friendship:
“Do yourself a favor and begin looking for healthier friendships with people who are your peers and for the time being, separate your work life from your friendships. Your once-friend sounds like a user.”
Does this mean you can’t have awesome friendships with your superiors at work? Of course not. However, it does mean that any friendship has the potential to become volatile…especially if there is a power struggle under the surface.
So even if the friendship has some awesome highs, those might not compensate for all the lows the friendship puts you through.
Now I know what you’re thinking. How do I set someone straight who’s already super stubborn? Won’t they just get super defensive and turn everything I say back on me?
This is possible, but there are ways you can avoid this reaction. A good way to appeal to naturally defensive people is “I feel statements”. These are commonly used in interpersonal communication. In fact, this technique is so effective that counseling services use this as their primary conflict resolution method. But how do they work within an actual conversation?
Let’s say you have a friend that’s constantly using your car to drive places, but she never fills up the gas tank. You want to say:
“You are always using up my gas and it’s super expensive.”
But that will send the other person straight to defensive-town. However, phrasing it like this might get you a more successful result:
“I feel used when you use my car without offering to chip in for gas.”
It may seem like a simple rearrangement of words. However, just a simple rephrase can turn a potentially awkward confrontation to a vulnerable, productive conversation.
If you’re wondering how to stand up for yourself, you’re probably a non-confrontational person. Telling someone what they’ve done wrong just isn’t in your nature. This doesn’t mean you’re not a strong person; it just means you don’t want strength to come off as hostility.
The key difference between constructive criticism and verbal abuse is the intention. The Harley Therapy center offers some pretty clear distinctions between the two:
“The difference here is that a person who verbally abuses another has no intention of seeing the positive side, considering the other’s viewpoint, or helping them improve. ”
So someone might offer you some helpful insight on your work performance, like so:
“I love how focused you or on detail, but you might want to meet the deadlines more instead of striving for perfection every time.”
In this case, standing up for yourself isn’t necessarily required, for they intend to help you be a better worker. However, the situation is a little different when phrased like this:
“You never get stuff in on time. This is so typical of you. You are always late, and you really don’t care about people’s time.”
In this case, the intent is really to attack you as a person rather than to improve your work performance. So if you’re wondering how to stand up for yourself, you might need to reassess the situation. You may have been verbally attacked, or it may have constructive criticism given by someone with a very dry sense of humor.
We get it; confrontation can be hard. Some of us would rather go years secretly resenting someone than engage in a single confrontation.
However, requesting the respect you deserve is incredibly empowering. Maybe most strong women don’t always have to Google how to stand up for yourself, but this doesn’t mean you’re not one of them. Confrontation can be as casual as ordering at McDonald’s if you’re tactful about it.
We hope this helped you understand how to stand up for yourself. If someone is wronging you, it is your right to set them straight.
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