I feel bad for not being more assertive :(

posted 2 years ago in The Lounge
Post # 2
356 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: Canada

I’m just like you so I really identify with this!  To be fair, it sounds like your manager was kind about it and her comment wasn’t meant to be accusatory; maybe she notices this is a skill you need in other areas as well and is just taking the time to bring it up now.  In the future, try not to feel guilty about calling in sick (though I’m the same way in that I feel guilty – I often go into work and then leave an hour or so later!).  If in the future this comes up again, just be prepared to explain why you waited to say something and most importantly, don’t feel guilty!  Relax and know that you’re doing your best.

Post # 3
2173 posts
Buzzing bee

View original reply
anonagrsta :  I’ve gotten this feedback often, especially in my professional life where I’ve always worked in high energy and fast paced kind of atmospheres.

The best thing I have found to do is to bite the bullet and make yourself more of a presence. I am definitely a come in, head down, do my work and ask minimal questions type of person. And while those are valuable employees in the workforce, you do need to come to the table with your voice and original thought periodically to not only remind people you have a brain and are more than capable but also because your voice actually DOES need to be heard!

You know the old saying, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Sometimes, you just have to  squeak and not be self concious about it. I picked a few things at work I wanted to work on when it comes to asserting myself and started there. One was speaking up about some of the company policies that need improvement. Another was taking on a training process with new hires. That showed my boss that I’m here, I’m alert, and even though I’m quiet– I’m not NOT paying attention.

As far as the scenario you described– the best way I got over my fear of getting in front of people with things like that was just to do it. I started scheduling specific time with my management on a weekly basis to touch base and build some rapport, that way when things came up I felt comfortable approaching them about it.

Post # 4
2629 posts
Sugar bee

I’ve had this problem occasionally before as well. i’m an introvert working in a very extroverted industry/office so while I tend to communicate better via email, everyone else here prefers to swoop over to each others desks and discuss things straight away. 

Now every time I’m about to send a text or email I stop and ask myself if it’s something I could address in person/via phone call.  I always default to asking in person and if it’s something more complex I follow up with an email so that the details are in writing. Even just that small change makes you come across as more assertive. The more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes and the better rapport you build with your coworkers. 

There are a lot of other strategies beyond that, but this is what directly applies to that situation. 


Post # 5
733 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

Oooh I’ve so been there, I’m also an introvert and it used to be really hard for me to not sugarcoat things. But it’s ok to ask for what you need and it’s going to feel foreign the first few times you do it but the more you are assertive the more natural it’s going to feel that eventually you won’t feel bad about it!

Post # 6
1332 posts
Bumble bee

My brother is painfully shy and it’s like people have a go at him for being “passive”, which in turn makes him more shy. It’s a cycle! It’s like he doesn’t say something because he feels like he’s imposing or people will judge him, but he doesn’t realise that people don’t really care that much and they just want to know what’s going on. He struggled a lot at work with this, and socially he almost seemed to freeze sometimes. 

Anyway you don’t sound that bad! But he’s made some changes which helped him greatly (he now has a promotion and is much more confident)

-accept that upfront communication makes others life easier. if you’re sick and need to leave, tell your boss straight up. then she knows, and can plan and get on with her day. 

-avoid texts if possible. face to face or phone or email is better. 

-you might think you’re imposing but the majority of the time you’re not. and even if you are, just apologise.

– if it makes you feel better, preface things with like “sorry I hope I’m not interrupting, but XYZ” 

– fake it til you make it 


Post # 7
10 posts

My therapist actually just recommended I take assertiveness training classes. I found one offered at my local community college but there are also classes online.

She also recommended the book “Boundaries: When to say yes, how to say no to take control of your life.”

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