You have just been introduced to someone, but you did
not learn his/her name.
As soon as appropriate, ask, "What is your name again?"
Use it the first chance you get, so you won't forget it
Let it go and try to avoid situations where you need to
use his/her name. An aggressive response would be to
blame him/her, "You don't speak up very well, what's
your name again?"
Following these guidelines, write out in rough form some ways of
responding in your problem situations.
STEP THREE: Practice giving assertive responses.
Using the responses you have just developed, role-play (method
#1) the problem situations with a friend or, if that isn't possible,
simply imagine interacting assertively. As recommended in method
#1, start with real life but easy to handle situations and work up to
more challenging ones expected in the future. Use the many other
suggestions given in method #1.
You will quickly discover, if your friend plays the role realistically,
that you need to do more than simply rehearse the assertiveness
responses. You will realize that no matter how calm and tactful you
are, how much you use "I" statements, and how much you play down
a desire for change, it will still sometimes come out smelling like a
personal assault to the other person. The other person may not be
aggressive (since you have been tactful) but you should realize that
strong reactions are possible, e.g. getting mad and calling you names,
counter-attacking and criticizing you, seeking revenge, becoming
threatening or ill, or suddenly being contrite and overly apologetic or
submissive. Your friend helping you by role-playing can act out the
more likely reactions. In most cases, simply explaining your behavior
and standing your ground will handle the situation. But, there are
helpful special techniques for responding to criticism and when the
interaction is not going well.
When we are criticized, there are various ways of attacking back.
We may be sarcastic, get mad, or criticize back. We assume "I count,
you don't." That's aggressive. We may cry, be quiet, or get away. We
imply "You count, I don't." That's passive. We may pretend to forget
but get even by procrastinating, being late or slow, being silent or
whiny, bad mouthing the critic, or doing any thing that drives him/her
up a wall ("Oh, I didn't know that was bothering you"). That's passive-
aggressive. Instead of these kinds of reactions to criticism, McKay,
Davis & Fanning (1983) recommend using one of these approaches
reflecting a "We both count equally" attitude: