Written by: Rayford
Nice guys don’t have to finish last: A to-do list for being more assertive
We’ve heard it all before, right? “Nice guys finish last.”
So we have two options then? Being a “Nice Guy” or “Winning” — are these mutually exclusive? Let’s find out.
If you’re like me, you’re a people pleaser. Unfortunately, this oftentimes puts us in situations we would rather not be in. Has your boss ever asked you to work the weekend shift and feel obligated to say “yes”, even though you already had plans? Ever been stuck being “DD” because you felt awkward saying “no”? Or refused to send back a cold steak for fear of upsetting the restaurant staff? Me too. We decide to just bite the bullet in lieu of making a scene or having others feel uncomfortable. We then rationalize our decision as “Eh, it’s not that big of a deal” or we make a mental note for that person “owing us one”—which never seems to be reciprocated, right?
A message to all of my fellow nice guys: It’s time to be more assertive! Being assertive is being able to tow the line between a push-over and being aggressive. If you’re too passive, then you never get to express your needs; if you’re too aggressive, then you can come off as bully. However, if you’re assertive, then you are able to express your desires and stick to your guns while being respectful towards others. This will in turn increase your chances of getting what you want and deserve.
Curious how to be more assertive? Read on:
Stop Trying to Please Everybody
First and foremost, if you want to be more assertive you need to come to the understanding that you are not going to be able to please everybody. I am as guilty of this as the next nice guy; being torn in multiple directions trying to make everyone happy while putting my feelings or goals on the back burner. We convince ourselves that we will be happy as long as everyone else is happy. However, this is a copout because oftentimes we leave ourselves in the dust feeling frustrated and annoyed. There is nothing wrong with putting yourself first to ensure you’re not getting the short-end of the stick.
- Think about it: Wasting your time worrying about everybody else can lead to less satisfaction in your life. By changing your focus to your goals and needs life will become more fulfilling. Fulfillment leads to more happiness, which then allows you to be more capable to help others find happiness. It’s a win-win.
Nice guys sometimes have trouble saying what is on our mind when the majority opinion is different. Don’t be silent when you have something to say! C’mon, it’s your God-given right as a red-blooded American to express yourself. Where would we be today if our forefathers didn’t express their distaste of taxation without representation? I’m not telling you to start a revolution, wait—yes I am! Today is the day you start your personal revolution to become more assertive. If there is an opportunity for you to express yourself, then just say it already!
- Practice: The next time you and your friends are talking about that new blockbuster or TV show that everyone is crazy about, don’t be afraid to say that you didn’t like it by explaining your perspective.
Set Personal Boundaries
Before walking into any situation it is essential to set limits for what you are willing to do for another person without jeopardizing your personal needs. Tired of spotting your “I’ll pay you back” compadre whenever you grab a bite to eat? Tell him you’re not going to cover for him until his debt has been paid. Has your boss been calling you in at the last minute to work your day off? Tell him on the front-end that you utilize your days off for personal endeavors and would appreciate at least three days notice. Setting personal boundaries gives you a solid base when making decisions and helps ensure that you’re not getting walked on.
Have you ever dealt with a noisy neighbor?
Lesson: Not being assertive can lead to Parkinson’s. Thanks, Michael!
Get Comfortable Saying “No”
We nice guys are not the only ones who often feel guilty for saying “no” when asked a request; it’s merely human nature. Companies take advantage of this fact every day. Why do you think every time you’re at the check-out counter the cashier asks “would you like to donate to charity?” or “would you like to super-size that?”, it’s because people in general don’t like saying “no”. Don’t be afraid to say no if the request makes you uncomfortable or gets in the way of your personal goals. Remember, the most important person is you!
- Challenge: Take one day this week and respond “no” to every request that is asked of you. Yes, every request. Doing this will help you get comfortable with saying no and will show you how unlikely people will become upset by your rejection.
We Can’t Read Your Mind
We often walk through life expecting people to know what we are feeling. This is a common fallacy among us nice guys. You may think that your roommate knows his late night Call of Duty campaigns are keeping you from a good night’s rest, that your girlfriend knows you think she owes you a night with the guys, or that your mom knows her daily calls/texts are a major inconvenience for you. The reality is that no one knows how their behavior affects you until you tell them. Don’t use the excuse that those around you know what you want/feel in lieu of having an uncomfortable conversation that could make your life more at ease.
It’s simple, gentlemen. Being assertive gives you more satisfaction in your life because you are taking care of your needs first and achieving your personal goals. It may seem counter intuitive, but being too easy-going does more harm than good. By taking control of your life and communicating your needs you get what you want, you become more confident (which is more appealing to women–right Lady in Red?), and people will respect you for taking a stand. Today is the day you start taking control of your life.
So long, Mr. Nice Guy!Follow @tlegendc
Any other tips for our nice guys out there? Any questions for us? We would love to hear about it in the comments below!