Here’s a thought; there are three types of compliments. Here are examples of each:
"I like your dress"
"That is a nice dress"
"That dress looks nice on you"
There’s a subtle difference between the three. The first one is complimentary to yourself, it indicates you made an observation about a dress. The second is complimentary to that specific dress. While the third example is complimentary to the woman. If you’ve ever noticed, the first 2 are more often used because it takes the pressure from us; it gives us room to ‘back out’ in case the person takes it the wrong way, or other people don’t agree. At the same time, the first 2 also loses much of the impact on the woman receiving the compliment because it is not directed at her.
I’ve always been of the opinion that one should be bold and clear in communication. You want to be direct and let her know that she looks good. Regardless of the dress, you truly appreciate her; you’re just using the dress as a way to let her know. Simply saying ‘you’re beautiful’ is nice the first time and maybe even the second time but if you want to truly create an appealing vibe about yourself, you have to be creative in complimenting her in different ways. Remember, a good compliment does not focus on you, nor the object…
a good an effective compliment focuses on the recipient
It’s an adjustment living with someone. But it’s worse when it’s your significant other and they have the worst habits ever.
AFTER EATING A MEAL I PREPARED AND COOKED FOR YOU, PUT YOUR UNEATEN FOOD IN THE TRASH AND NOT ROTTING IN THE SINK ON THE PLATE. AND RINSE YOUR DISHES, OR BETTER YET, WASH THEM. LIKE AN ADULT MALE.
I am not your mother.
Original article is here:
If you’ve been single for a while, it’s pretty natural to want to change that, to find someone to share a relationship with. What might seem less natural, however, is that really wanting to be in a relationship might just be the one thing that stops you from ever finding one. Let’s take a second to think about that properly. I’m talking about when you reach the state when you feel like you need to be in a relationship, or that being in a relationship will fix a lot of other problems in your life. Maybe you’ve been single for months, or years, or maybe the opposite – you start new relationships as soon as old ones end, never letting yourself stay single for long. Either way, you might be suffering from the same problem: you’re not happy being single.
Being unhappy to be single might seem natural and sensible enough to some, but I’m going to try to explain why that’s mistaken. I’ll also explain how this affects more than just your happiness while you’re on your own – it can have a serious detrimental effect on your ability to start relationships, and your ability to make them last once they’ve started. Long story short: if you hate being single, or think a relationship would be some magical cure-all, then you’re just likely to stay single even longer, and will struggle to form meaningful, long-lasting relationships.
There’s nothing in itself wrong with wanting a relationship, especially these days, when the drive to find a partner has been the basis of a major plot point in most films and TV shows over the years. Pop culture constantly sends us the message that it’s better to be in a couple than not, that you’ll be happier in a couple, and even that you’re somehow a failure if you’re single. Finding a girlfriend has become a sign of success as a man, another accomplishment along the lines of a well-paid job or a decent apartment. And this is where the problem starts: getting a girlfriend stops being a personal choice, something that might suit different people at different times, or even not at all for some. Instead, those who are single are deficient, they’ve failed at some task that others have succeeded at.
If you find yourself getting frustrated at yourself for being single, or see yourself as a failure, you might be suffering from this. You might have started to think that beginning a relationship will fix some of the other perceived faults in your life, as the failures in your love life start to seem a lot bigger than they really are. In hunting for an explanation for your continued single status, you might latch onto all sorts of aspects of your personality and lifestyle that you can blame for your failures, leading to pointless and unhelpful self-criticism. Basically, you let the simple fact that you’re single be enough to drive you to misery.
To make things worse, this problem is utterly self-perpetuating, because it obstructs your attempts to find a girlfriend, keeping you single, and thus extending the unhappiness and overly critical mindset. To understand why, think of one simple word: ‘desperation’. When you think finding a girlfriend is one of the most important things in your life, people can tell, because you seem desperate. Suddenly you’re that guy who keeps ‘jokingly’ asking how many girls there will be at a party. You’re the guy who just keeps talking a little too intensely to girls you’ve just met, or even makes a point of talking to just about every single girl you can find. You might keep making self-deprecating jokes about how single you are, or maybe you avoid the topic of relationships altogether. You might latch onto any friendliness from a girl as a sign of romantic interest and hover around her all night. You might not even be aware you’re doing all of this, or if you are aware, you don’t think other people have noticed. I’m afraid I have some bad news for you: they have. Worst of all, the very girls you’re trying to flirt with have noticed more than anyone else, and they aren’t impressed. There aren’t many traits less attractive than desperation, and it’s almost guaranteed to put girls off.
So maybe you got lucky, or maybe you’re a bit better at hiding your desperation than most. Maybe you’re just such a great guy that someone was willing to look past your desperation to see the charming heart throb within. But you’re not in the clear yet. You’ve got to keep this relationship going, and that might not be as simple as you think. The main reason for this is that your desperation and your attitudes have made you selfish. You entered the relationship not out of a joy in spending time with your partner, but because you wanted something. And that’s going to continue. For you, the relationship is all about what you can get out of it. Your girlfriend will have to be there for you, but you won’t always think about being there for her. After all – in your fantasy of a relationship, you probably weren’t thinking about all the things you’d have to do for her, all the things you might give up. So you aren’t ready for them, but of course you expect them from her.
As you can imagine, there’s only so long a relationship can last with this sort of inequality. You can’t go into one thinking about yourself, you’ve got to think about what you can share with your partner, what you can do for each other. If you just want a woman to fit into your life as it currently is, you might have a nasty surprise when it turns out that she has her own life, and she isn’t likely to drop everything for you.
Unfortunately, the only real solution is to be single, and to stop caring. That isn’t to say that you give up on ever having a relationship. Rather, you learn to enjoy being on your own, to enjoy being single. No one needs a relationship, and if you think that you do, then you’re not ready for one. The best relationships come from two people who are happy in their own lives, but want to share them with someone else. You should want to be together, not need to.
Now, being happy with yourself doesn’t mean you have to love every bit of yourself. Recognising legitimate flaws is an important part of this process, and working to improve them can give you the self-confidence that you need. What matters is that you don’t decide to work out to get a girl, but rather you decide to do it because you’d rather be a bit slimmer, or more muscular. Improve yourself for your own sake, not because you think it’ll get you a girl. Your poorly defined abs aren’t what is keeping you single, most women honestly won’t care that much. But if working on them will give you more confidence in yourself, then go for it – just don’t hang your relationship prospects on a few gym sessions.
Take the time to build your interests and discover new hobbies. Socialize with your friends, without the pressure to hook up with anyone. You might find that you have more fun, and they have more fun with you, when you’re just out to enjoy yourself. And guess what? If you find yourself talking to a cute girl and you’re just enjoying talking to her, with no ulterior motive, she’s that much more likely to enjoy talking to you too.
It might sound a bit paradoxical: to find a girlfriend, stop caring about finding one. But it really isn’t. I’m not saying you have to want to be single, just that you have to be happy being single, to stop thinking that you need a girlfriend. And then you just might find one. So stop worrying about finding the perfect girl, and just think about making yourself a better guy – and try to enjoy doing it.
Original Article is here:
When I was in my early twenties, if a guy acted aloof, called back only sometimes and showed minimal interest, I would get hooked. You could say I was addicted to the bad boy/ unavailable boy/ player. I was drawn to what psychotherapist, Ken Page terms as “attractions of deprivation” – when we are drawn to people who embody the worst emotional characteristics of our parents. Basically, the theory explains that we are attracted to people who can wound us the same way we were wounded in our childhood, as our psyche tries to recreate the past void and save us by changing its ending.
“The child in us believes that if the original perpetrators — or their current replacements — finally change their minds, apologize, or make up for that terrible rupture of trust, we can escape from our prison of unworthiness. Our conscious self is drawn to the positive qualities we yearn for, but our unconscious draws us to the qualities which hurt us the most as children.” - Psychology Today
So games used to work on me because 1) I had unresolved daddy issues and 2) At the tender age of 20, I was trying to figure out who I was and to top it off, I was ridden with insecurity and a low sense of self-worth.
But somewhere in between the passing of a decade, something changed.
I learned to love myself. I became independent, confident, and started to value my self-worth. I went through hardships and heartbreaks and picked myself back up which built my strength and courage. Instead of relying on beauty as my source of empowerment, I focused on basing my empowerment on my intelligence, successes, values, contributions to the world and how I helped others. In a sense, I finally grew up. I went from being a girl to becoming a woman. And as a woman, you are attracted to very different things than you are as a girl.
A girl is attracted to boys. A woman is attracted to men. Now, this has nothing to do with the actual age of a person. I’m referring to maturity, life vision and stage of life. In fact, some people regardless of their age, will never really grow up.
If you are a girl (lack independence, are ruled by insecurity, lack self-respect, throw tantrums, have princess syndrome, don’t have strong values or boundaries and can’t hold yourself on your own) then expect that you will attract only boys. However, if you are a woman (independent, ambitious, knows your worth and value, has a strong moral compass, is considerate and an able communicator and doesn’t let insecurity dominate your psyche), then you should be dating a man. And if you can’t spot the difference just yet, here are some pointers.
Now, a lot of these differences require taking the time to know someone to figure out if the apple of your eye is indeed a man, or a mere boy. However, one of the quickest filters that you can notice from the beginning is this:
11. A boy plays games. A man doesn’t.
*To clarify, when I’m referring to “games” I mean mind games.
Photo credit: Jaclyn Auletta
Original link is here:
So you finally muster the courage, and asked the girl or guy that you have been crushing on out on a date, and they said “yes”. Just remember that you only get one chance to make a good first impression. So the following is a list of things that you should not do on a first date.
Original link is here:
There was once a time when men used to be real men. When they dressed with style, when they had a certain honor code they followed that involved treating not only their elders and each other with respect, but women alike. Unfortunately, those days are far- gone — a thing of the past. What we have now is… to be quite honest, I’m not sure.
There are of course certain men out there who still have their affairs in order, but we are few in number. What people are most often subject to is the company of boys who are refusing to grow up and man up — boys who prefer to play with their toys than to do their part in bettering society, the human race and the world as a whole. These poor excuses for men have the bodies of adults and the mentalities, as well as the social outlook of toddlers. Horny toddlers, but toddlers nonetheless.
It’s all about character — or in this case, the lack of character. Something has been happening during this era dubbed the “information age.” Social media platforms have taken away the need to interact face to face, taking away the need for actual interaction. This is great in many regards: you can now keep in touch with friends and family all over the world from a handheld device.
However, much of the interpersonal confrontations are now also taking place online. People no longer feel that they have a need to meet in person to discuss their differences; they can now troll each other online. People are using the Internet as a shield, hiding behind IP addresses in order to speak their minds. The Internet acts like beer-muscles. It makes you believe that you are stronger than you actually are, making you more aggressive. There is nothing wrong with being aggressive when circumstances require it.
Personally, when my fight or flight response mechanism kicks in, I always go with fight. It’s not by choice; it’s just the way that I am wired. Online, people have no need to run away because they are already in hiding — so they always choose to “fight.” Although the fighting they do is just about as significant as the fighting I do when I play Call of Duty.
The same interaction from beneath cover can be seen when we look at the intercommunication between men and women. It is no secret that both men and women alike have sexual urges. Men, however, feel the need to get off more often than most women. So instead of having to spend the time to meet a real woman and have actual sexual intercourse, they watch porn.
Instead of going out into the real world and meeting women, they stalk women on Instagram. People now date online as well. It’s much easier to talk to a woman online than it is in person—or rather, it’s not that it’s easier. Both are just as easy, but for some reason, men now prefer to hide their faces behind their monitors. (Every time I use the term ‘men’ in such context I quiver) It’s out of fear and laziness. Men have become lazy pussies. I don’t even want to use the word pussy because it brings to mind women, who nowadays have much more character than men.
Generation-Y is the instant gratification generation. We want what we want right at the moment we figure out that we want it. We are willingly giving up one of the most important things in life: the waiting period. Having to wait and having to deal with our urges and wants without instantly having them satisfied is what builds character and is what we are now lacking in this fast-paced age.
If we want food, we order it online and have it delivered. If we want to listen to our favorite song, we find it on YouTube, iTunes or Spotify. If we want to watch a movie, we either buy it on demand or stream it online. If we want sex, we masturbate. If we want to have a good time, we do drugs. We have this false belief that doing things faster will give us a life more fulfilled — that it will lead to us being happier. But that isn’t the case. Most of us aren’t happier. We do more, but we experience less. We are never in the moment because we are always considering what we will be doing next in order to not become bored.
Character is most often built during those moments between activities, during moments of solitude and reflection. Men no longer feel the need to pause and reflect because the options for whatever it is they want are only a click away. The options are endless and therefore we never truly experience disappointment.
We never really feel that we are missing out on something because we no longer give things much importance. Jackie never got back to your text message? I’m sure you have several other women in your contacts that you’d equally like to f*ck — once. Then you’ll get bored and move on to the next one. Men treat women like interchangeable commodities. I do believe that most men still hope to one day fall in love and settle down. But none of them will unless they change their way of thinking and living.
Being focused on self-satisfaction will lead to nothing but broken relationships. Real men are not selfish. Real men are just as concerned for the feelings, needs and minds of women as they are for their own — not just women’s bodies and their sexual usefulness. Real men have a well-defined code of ethics and respect that they follow.
How can anyone call himself a man if the last time he had to confront another man — whether it be over a social incident or for business purposes — was before he hit puberty? If you don’t have the twiddle-diddles to approach a woman at a bar in person and have a proper, intellectual conversation, making the woman feel respected and comfortable, then move over for the real men.
It’s awful because women are becoming accustomed to such boys and believing that these pansies are all that is left of our sex. Some great women are settling for these fools and then finding that they themselves have no choice but to wear the pants in the family because their “man” is PMSing. All I can hope for is that the law of evolution will see the world rid of these weaklings, these characterless, hopeless pseudo-men.
Ladies… real men do exist; there aren’t many of us, but we’re survivors and will be around for a while. Come find us.
Please note that this article is written from the perspective of a female. Original article is here:
It starts out innocently enough, doesn’t it? A coy smile here. A wink there. A couple of drinks out at the bar and a hug that’s kept going for just a second too long. No, this isn’t a Friday night date with that cutie from class. It’s your guy friend. We’ve all had those fun, flirty first date feelings: those butterflies-in-your-stomach, goose-bumpy feelings. But what if you had those feelings for a friend? A guy you know really well? Like, your old friend from high school or that guy who lives down the hall in your dorm?
I’m talking about flirtationships–that tricky in-between stage when you regularly flirt with a guy friend but for one reason or another, you do nothing more than that. Flirtationships can be fun and silly, but they can also get awkward really fast (and potentially mean bad news for having a real relationship with that guy). So how do you navigate this tricky territory? This guide will give you the rules to live (and flirt) by. And with some advice from Julie Spira, best-selling author and the Cyber Dating Expert, and stories from real collegiettes, you can take charge of your flirtationship.
So, what’s a flirtationship?
Spira breaks it down to the basics for us. “A flirtationship is that fun and flirty in-between place of being just friends and without claiming that you’re in a relationship,” Spira says. “More often than not, it does become a romantic relationship. It’s a friendship filled with flirting.”
How do you know that you’re in one?
“Hey, are you and so-and-so dating?” If you get this question a lot, along with raised eyebrows and winks from your mutual friends, chances are you’re in a flirtationship.
Flirtationships typically develop in one of two ways: they can grow into a romantic relationship or revert back to a friendship. Or (worst-case scenario) they can fall apart completely, leaving out the idea of a possible relationship and the friendship too awkward to fall back on.
So are there any pros to a flirtationship?
It sounds like flirtationships can get emotionally complicated, and they can. But sometimes, they can be an easygoing alternative to a relationship.
Rachel, a senior at New York University says that her flirtationship with a longtime guy friend Hunter means having someone to depend on.
“Hunter is always someone I can rely on to listen to me when I need to talk out something,” she says. “The thing with friends is they’re always there for you. It’s sort of like having a boyfriend, but without having to worry about him judging you.”
And as Tammy, a junior at Boston College says, a “no strings attached” flirtationship can be the best of both worlds in the dating scene. “There’s no real commitment involved,” she says. “What’s great about a flirtationship is that you can still date around with whoever you want without the drama of being ‘attached’ to someone or people calling you a cheater.”
A flirtationship, much like a friends with benefits situation, means having all the benefits of a relationship without the obligations. You don’t feel obligated to spend money on date after date or have the awkward meet-the-parents dinner to please your partner in a flirtationship. You can save your weekend nights for clubbing with the girls and splurge on those to-die-for heels you just hadto have.
Can this hurt my friendship?
Like any gamble, in a flirtationship, you run the risk of ruining the friendship.
“It starts off really simple, light, easy, fun and uncomplicated,” Spira says. “And as soon as one person has more feelings than the other or as soon as one person meets someone else and moves into a relationship, all the rules change and someone can get hurt.”
Say you meet a new cute guy and say this guy asks you out. If the guy you’re in a flirtationship with had feelings for you, this could cause jealousy between the two of you as friends. The same thing can happen if you saw the flirtationship developing with your friend and he started a committed relationship with a new girl. Jealousy is the number one cause of destroyed friendships that developed into flirtationships, according to Spira.
“The number one way a flirtationship can hurt a friendship is if all of a sudden with all of this flirting foreplay you get this false sense that you’re in a relationship and maybe one person wants to be in a relationship with that person,” she says. “They wake up one day and they say, ‘Wow I really have feelings for this person. I’d like to take it to the next step.’ If the other person doesn’t feel the same way, then you basically run the risk of losing the friendship.”
Collegiettes in flirtationships agree. “I have found that they never work. Either they want to be more than friends or don’t act the same way back,” says Heather, a freshman at the University of Arizona. “I have found that on the rare occasion that it does work out I was starting to develop a relationship with another guy. They might work out for other people but for some reason they just don’t work out for me!”
Kerry, a senior at Hofstra University, found herself in a dire dilemma when her flirtationship with a taken guy went a little too far.
“My good friend Paul used to live in a house off-campus with me – directly next to my room. He’s had a girlfriend for four years and he’s incredibly loyal to her except for this flirtationship we’ve established. We’ve kissed a few times and I’ve slept in his bed without taking any further steps than that (though we’re usually pretty physical and affectionate with each other). I know it has a lot to do with sexual tension and repression on his end considering that his girlfriend lives hundreds of miles away from him… but we definitely have fun with each other. It’s a mutual understanding that this is just how our friendship works, but I do know that his girlfriend would be devastated if she knew how we act around each other.”
So far, it hasn’t ruined her friendship with Paul, but she cautions collegiettes that flirtationships are definitely “dangerous territory.”
“When his girlfriend came to visit in December it was so awkward,” she says. “We always hug each other so when she was around I had to monitor my behavior to avoid any trouble.”
The worst case scenario can happen when the whole flirtationship falls apart. If it all falls apart, not only do you lose the chance of that perfect boyfriend, you lose the chance of keeping him as a friend.
Emma from Mount Holyoke College found herself in this situation. “I’ve had a few flirtationships, and they were entertaining, but I went too far when I accidentally got into one with my best guy friend,” she says. “We had previously considered dating, but decided against it because we thought it would damage our friendship. I started texting him and we flirted for a month or so. When I got home for break, I realized what a mistake I had made, because we both were being flirty, yet expecting more to come of it, and it didn’t work out so well. We haven’t spoken in two months.”
“So beware!” she warns. “They are fun if you’re not close to the guy, but if you value the friendship, don’t get into a flirtationship with them.”
So is a flirtationship worth it?
Despite how complicated a flirtationship can be, Spira says they can be healthy. A close flirtationship with a guy can even turn into the best relationship.
“Some of the best relationships start off with humor and wit and joking,” she says. “Anyone who is looking for love, is looking for someone who is smart and funny, someone who has a great sense of humor. It’s like the first phase of what attracts someone to another.”
Whatever the reasons are behind the flirtationship, Spira says that there are some common sense boundaries you should never cross, like don’t become too emotionally attached and never keep up a flirtationship with a guy who is in a relationship. This avoids hurt feelings on either side. But with a flirtationship, you can be single and available. You can be single and bro-down with as many guy friends as you want. You can be flirty as friends, as long as you don’t hurt him in the process. Or more importantly, hurt yourself.
Your boss consistently asks you at the last minute to come into work on the weekend. You say “yes” every time even though you have family plans. You stew with resentment as you pore over TPS reports on a Saturday.
You order an expensive steak at a restaurant, but when the waiter brings it to you it’s way over-cooked. When he asks, “How is everything?” you respond, “Fine,” while you glumly saw your charred hunk of meat.
You want to take a jiu-jitsu class, but you don’t think your wife will be too happy with you spending an hour or two every week away from your family, so don’t you even mention the idea to her.
Your neighbor lets his dogs bark all night, and it’s keeping you from sleep. Instead of talking to him about it, you bad-mouth him to your friends on Facebook.
If any of these situations hits close to home, then you’re likely one of the legions of men who suffer from “Nice Guy Syndrome” – a set of personality, attitude, and behavioral traits described by Dr. Robert Glover, author of No More Mr. Nice Guy.
Nice Guys take a passive approach to life and relationships. Instead of standing up for themselves, they let others walk all over them. They’re pushovers and perennial People Pleasers. Nice Guys have a hard time saying no to requests — even unreasonable ones. They’re considerate to a fault. When they want or need something, they’re afraid to ask for it because they don’t want to inconvenience others. Nice Guys also avoid conflict like the plague. They’d rather get along than get ahead.
At first blush, Nice Guys seem like saints. They appear generous, flexible, and extremely polite. But if you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll often find a helpless, anxious, and resentful core. Nice Guys are often filled with anxiety because their self-worth depends on the approval of others and getting everyone to like them. They waste a lot of time trying to figure out how to say no to people and even then, often end up still saying yes, because they can’t go through with it. They don’t feel they can go after their true desires, because they’re locked into doing what others say they should do. Because “go with the flow” is their default approach to life, Nice Guys have little control over their lives and consequently feel helpless, shiftless, and stuck. They’re also typically resentful and vindictive because their unspoken needs aren’t being met and they feel like others are always taking advantage of them – even though they’re the ones who allow it to happen.
In worst-case scenarios, the Nice Guy’s pent-up resentment from being pushed around will result in unexpected outbursts of anger and violence. He’s a volcano waiting to erupt.
So what’s a Nice Guy to do? How can he regain some control over his life and quit being such a pushover?
Some Nice Guys think the solution is to swing to the other extreme and go from being passive toaggressive. Instead of meekly submitting, they feel like they have to dominate in every situation. They seek to get their way in everything, no matter what.
Aggressiveness, while definitely appropriate in some instances, particularly those involving out-and-out competition, isn’t a very productive communication or behavior style in most cases. In fact, using a persistent, aggressive communication style can often backfire by creating resentment and passive-aggressive behavior in the very people you’re trying to control.
Instead of passivity and aggressiveness, the best approach lies somewhere between the two. The sweet spot for communication and behavior is called assertiveness.
You might associate the term “assertiveness” with training courses that women take to learn to be more confident in traditionally masculine workplaces.
But in the past few decades, as men have been taught to smooth over their rough edges — to be less pushy, more sensitive, and more collaborative — a lot of guys have gotten confused as to where to draw the line between aggression and passivity. Anxious to not come off as overbearing, and even sexist, they tend to err on the side of the latter. They’ve lost the ability to navigate between those two rocky shoals, and as a result, many men need to learn, or re-learn, how to be assertive.
So what does it mean to be assertive?
In a nutshell, assertiveness is an interpersonal skill in which you demonstrate healthy confidence and are able to stand up for yourself and your rights, while respecting the rights of others.
When you’re assertive, you are direct and honest with people. You don’t beat around the bush or expect people to read your mind about what you want. If something is bothering you, you speak up; if you want or need something, you ask. You do all this while maintaining a calm and civil demeanor.
Assertiveness also requires an understanding that while you can make a request or state an opinion, others are well within their right to say no or disagree. You don’t get upset or angry when that happens. You stay in control and work to come to some sort of compromise. When you’re assertive, you understand that you might not get what you want. You’ll learn, however, that it not only doesn’t hurt to ask, but actually helps to ask as well:
Your relationships will improve. Researchers who study marriage and relationships have found that assertiveness is one of the key attributes that both partners need in order for a relationship to be strong and healthy.If one person feels they aren’t getting their needs met, resentment for their partner ensues (even if it’s the person’s fault for not letting their needs to be known).
You’ll feel less stressed. Studies have shown that individuals who undergo assertiveness training experience less stress than individuals who don’t. When you’re assertive, you say no to requests that would otherwise spread you too thin. You also lose the anxiety and worry that comes with being overly pre-occupied with what others will think of your choices/preferences/requests/opinions. You feel in control of your life.
You’ll gain confidence. When you’re assertive, you have an internal locus of control. Your attitude and behavior are governed by your own actions or decisions, not the actions and decisions of others. Knowing that you can make changes to improve your own situation is a big-time confidence booster.
You’ll become less resentful. As you become more assertive, your relationships will become more enjoyable. You’ll no longer have to swallow the bitter pill of resentment when you say yes to a request or decide to do a favor for someone. When you do something, you do it because you actually want to do it, or you’re okay with doing it as part of the natural give and take of relationships.
In my experience, becoming more assertive first requires you to change your mindset. You need to get rid of any limiting or incorrect beliefs that are holding you back from being assertive. Here are a few suggestions to get your mindset in the right place.
Set boundaries. The first step in becoming less of a pushover is establishing boundaries. Boundaries are rules and limits that a man creates for himself that guide and direct others as to what’s permissible behavior around him. Passive men typically have no boundaries and allow others to walk all over them.
Men’s counselor and author Wayne Levine calls boundaries N.U.Ts, or Non-negotiable,Unalterable Terms. Your N.U.Ts are the things you’re committed to: your family, your health, your faith, your hobbies, your psychological well-being, etc. According to Levine, “N.U.T.s are the boundaries that define you as man, those things which, if repeatedly compromised, will gradually—but assuredly—turn you into a pissed-off, resentful man.”
If you don’t know what your N.U.Ts are, take some time to figure it out. Once you do, make a commitment from here on out that you’ll never compromise them.
Take responsibility for your own problems. Nice Guys wait around for someone else to fix their problems. An assertive man understands that his problems are his responsibility. If you see something that needs changing in your life, take action. If you’re not happy with something in your life, start taking steps — however small — to change things.
Don’t expect people to read your mind. Nice Guys expect others to recognize what they need and want without having to say a word. Until a mass mutation occurs that allows telepathy or our brains become connected to the Borg, mind reading isn’t possible for the foreseeable future. If you want something, say it; if something bothers you, speak up. Never assume that people know your every need or want. It’s not as obvious as you may think.
Understand you’re not in charge of how others feel or behave. Both passive and aggressive men share a similar problem: they both think they’re in charge of how others feel or behave — they just go about it differently.
An aggressive man assumes responsibility of others’ behavior and emotions by exerting his will through physical, mental, and emotional force.
A passive man assumes responsibility of others’ behavior by constantly submitting his will to the will of others. Passive men feel it’s their job to make sure everyone is happy, even if that means they themselves are miserable.
An assertive man recognizes that it’s not his job to control or worry about others’ behavior and that he’s only responsible for how he behaves and feels. You won’t believe how much less stress and anxiety you’ll feel once you understand this. You’ll no longer spend wasted hours wringing your hands worrying about whether someone will be happy with your choice or opinion.
This isn’t to say that you should be an inconsiderate jerk and shouldn’t take into account the feelings/situations of others. It just means you don’t need to go overboard and be so overly considerate that you don’t make any requests or stand up for your values lest you upset or offend someone. Let them decide whether to be upset or offended. That’s their responsibility, not yours.
You are responsible for the consequences of your assertive words/actions. Asserting yourself will likely ruffle feathers, and there might be unpleasant consequences. But part of being assertive is taking responsibility for those consequences, come what may. Dealing with those consequences is far better than dealing with those of living an anxious, thwarted life.
Assertiveness takes time. Don’t think you’ll magically become assertive simply by reading this article. Assertiveness takes time and practice. You’ll have good days and bad days. Just be persistent with your efforts; it will pay off.
Once you have the mindset, here’s how to actually start being assertive.
Start small. If the thought of standing up for yourself makes you downright nauseous, start with low-risk situations. For example, if you order a burger, and the waiter brings you a grilled cheese, let him know the mistake and send it back. If you’re out running errands on the weekend with your wife and are trying to decide on a place to eat, don’t just automatically defer, but chime in as to where you’d like to go.
Once you feel comfortable in these low-risk situations, start upping the ante little by little.
Say no. In your quest to become more assertive, “no” is your best friend. Start saying no more often. Does a request conflict with a personal boundary? Say no. Schedule already full? Diga, “No, gracias.” You don’t have to be a jerk when you do it. It’s possible to be firm and resolute with your no while being considerate. At first, saying no may make you very anxious, but eventually it will come to feel good, and actually quite freeing.
Will some people be disappointed when you turn them down? Probably. But remember that as long as you express your needs in a considerate way, you’re not responsible for their reaction. No need to feel guilty for treating yourself like their equal.
Be simple and direct. When you’re asserting yourself, less is more. Keep your requests and preferences simple and direct. No need for elaborate explanations (see below) or meandering wind-ups. Just politely say your piece.
Use “I” statements. When making a request or expressing disapproval use “I” statements. Instead of saying, “You‘re so inconsiderate. You have no idea how hard my day at the office was. Why would you ask me to do all these chores?” say, “I’m exhausted today. I understand you want these things done, but I’m not going to be able to get to them until tomorrow.” Other examples of “I” statements:
When crafting your “I” statements, be careful not to embed accusations or try to interpret the person’s behavior. That will just make them defensive and cause them to shut down. Examples:
Don’t apologize or feel guilty for expressing a need/want/right. Unless you’re asking for something that’s patently unreasonable, there’s no reason to feel guilty or ashamed for expressing a need or want. So quit apologizing when you make a request. Just politely ask for it and wait to see how the other person responds.
Nice Guys will feel guilty even when expressing dissatisfaction with something they’re paying for! If a contractor hasn’t done the work he agreed to do, it’s your right to ask that it be fixed. It has nothing to do with being polite or not hurting his feelings – it’s just business and that’s how it works.
Use confident body language and tone. Look confident when making a request or stating a preference. Stand up straight, lean in a bit, smile or keep a neutral facial expression, and look the person in the eye. Also be sure to speak clearly and loudly enough to make your point. Passive folks will tend to whisper and mumble when making their opinions or needs known; that will only serve to frustrate the other person.
You don’t have to justify/explain your opinion/choices. When you make a decision or state an opinion that others don’t agree with, one way in which they’ll try to exert control over you is to demand that you offer a justification for your choice/opinion/behavior. If you can’t come up with a good enough reason (in the other person’s eyes) you’re supposed to go along with what they want.
Nice Guys — with their need to please — feel obligated to give an explanation or justification for every. single. choice they make, even if the other person isn’t asking for it. They want to make sure that everyone is okay with their choices — essentially asking for permission to live their life the way they want. Don’t operate like that.
Rehearse. Play out the scenario in which you plan to assert yourself. Sure, it’s goofy, but practice what and how you’ll say in front of a mirror. It helps.
Be persistent. You’ll sometimes face situations when people will shoot you down the first time you make a request. Don’t just throw up your hands and say, “Oh well, there’s nothing I can do about it. At least I tried.” Sometimes to be treated fairly, you’ve got to be persistent. Remain cool, calm, and collected during this process. For example, if you call customer service and they won’t help you with your problem, ask if you can talk to their manager. Or if you get bumped off a flight, keep asking about other options, like getting transferred to another airline, so you can make it to your destination on time.
Be wary of the advice you find in some books on assertiveness that suggest you keep asking the same thing over and over and over again until the person relents and gives you what you want. That’s not being persistent, that’s being a pest.
Stay cool. If someone disagrees or expresses disapproval of your choice/opinion/request, don’t get angry or defensive. Either give a constructive response or decide not to engage with the person any further.
Pick your battles. A common mistake many people make who are on the path to being more assertive is to try to be assertive all the time. Assertiveness is situational and contextual. There may be cases when being assertive won’t get you anywhere and taking a more aggressive or passive stance is the better option.
How do you know when you should or shouldn’t assert yourself? You’ll need to figure that out through practice and exercising some practical wisdom.
Dr. Robert Alberti and Michael Emmons, authors of Your Perfect Right, provide a few questions to consider before choosing to be assertive:
If you’ve been a pushover for most of your life, the people around you will likely resist your efforts to become more assertive. They’re used to you being a doormat and are comfortable with a relationship dynamic that has you in the passive role. Don’t get angry or frustrated if your family, friends, and co-workers question or even try to thwart your new assertive approach to life. That’s a completely normal response. Just remember that while the short-term kerfuffles that come with being assertive may be annoying and awkward, you and those around you will be better off in the long-run.
At times, you certainly do need to suck up your feelings and just do it. Perhaps it’s doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, or even finishing that TPS report. However, learning to voice your opinions, and more importantly, respect the validity of those opinions and wants, will serve to make you a more confident man. The result of an assertive action may be getting exactly what you want, or a compromise, or a rejection, but regardless of the outcome, it will lead to you feeling more in control of your life. Start small, learn how to state your wishes, and make assertiveness a part of who you are.
We can all think of the people around us who we know to be assertive. With a little bit of practice and training, you can be that man that people think of and look to when they need something taken care of.