Halfway through our 55-mile bike trip, my husband and I had stopped at a great café to eat lunch. I was looking forward to resting my body and to getting rejuvenated for the long trip back. I was also thirsty and out-of-my-mind hungry. Incidentally, when I reach this point of hunger, it doesn’t matter where or what I eat; I just need food. As we walked inside and saw tables available, the hostess informed us that it would be 15 minutes before we could get seated. That was my first clue that things wouldn’t go smoothly.
I immediately suggested that we go somewhere else. At that moment, I would have been more than happy to eat Subway in the grass. My husband reminded me that it wouldn’t be that long, and we could wait. Although we were seated after 15 minutes, we waited forever for the waitress to come to our table and take our order. Receiving our drinks took another long wait, and we were finally presented with tiny juice glasses. When you’re thirsty, this doesn’t serve you well.
The waitress didn’t acknowledge us for the next 45 minutes. Yes, that’s how long it took for us to receive our food. Not once did she give me any kind of sign that she understood my frustration. You can just imagine the level of my patience during this time. When we did receive our food, she didn’t bring my complete order. I hadn’t even noticed because, by that time, I was beyond hungry and delirious. I cleaned my plate within three minutes of it being set in front of me.
Looking back on the situation, I have a couple hard questions to ask myself. Why didn’t I articulate my concerns to the waitress during and after the experience? Why didn’t I speak up and remedy the situation? Where was my voice in this whole debacle?
I was working with a couple just a few years ago. The emotional woman shared that she was upset at her husband. When I inquired why, she stated how he never takes out the trash and that he expects her to do it. I asked her if she ever ASKS him to take out the trash. She replied with this statement, “He should know without me telling him.” When I asked the husband what he thought of this, he replied that he was sorry for upsetting her, but that he didn’t realize she wanted him to take out the trash.
I don’t want to point fingers at anyone, but women are notorious pleasers in life. Many of you were taught at a young age that it’s a good thing to just go with the flow, not make waves, and do what makes everyone happy. Somewhere back in your childhood, you probably received the inferred message that being a nice girl is a very positive attribute for a woman to possess. Let’s be honest— each one of you has some form of this toxic behavior that will negatively impact your personal and professional life.
I consider myself an assertive woman with sass— I’ve definitely found my voice. However, even I fall back into old patterns ingrained in my childhood. When I hold back because I hesitate to hurt other people’s feelings and upset them, this strategy ends up making me miserable and always has a poor outcome.
Keep in mind that there are a huge range of responses between rolling over and playing dead and being incredibly selfish and cruel. Find a place somewhere in the middle to call your own.