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How to Deal with People in a Non-Confrontational Way

Standing up for yourself can be tricky, especially as a woman. Women are sometimes perceived to be docile, submissive and any other synonym for passive. This is not acceptable. Why should we allow ourselves to get walked all over just because we don’t want to come across as bitchy?

While there is a fine line between being assertive and being a bitch, you can easily navigate with the following tips to keep the peace. After all, you can only get the respect you command.

1. Take time to think about what you want to say.
You would never take a test without preparing, right? Well, this is the same thing. Make sure you have a list (either mental or physical) that addresses all of the points you want to talk about. If you’re confronting a friend who did something to upset you, make sure you point out specific examples of what she did that upset you and how in the future you think it should be handled. If you’re confronting a boss or other superior about something, make sure you have your main points down so that when you go in to speak with them they know that you’ve taken the time to prepare for your meeting.

2. Take the person aside and tell them that you’d like to talk.
If you’re planning on talking with a friend, make sure to not call them out in front of other people. Nobody likes to feel singled out, and chances are if you do it in front of other people, the person you’re trying to get through to will become defensive and you’ll end up getting nowhere. If you’re going to be speaking with your boss or a professor, make sure to set up an appointment or tell them that you would like to speak with them at whatever time is most convenient for them.

3. Let the person know how you feel about the situation.
When you talk to the person you’re confronting, make sure you tell them why the situation has upset or hurt you. By letting them know that their actions have not gone unnoticed and have affected you in a negative way, they’ll have an easier time relating and being empathetic. You should never go into a situation feeling like you’re way is the right way and anything the other person says is wrong, instead you should go into the conversation wanting to hear what the other person has to say so that the two of you collectively come up with a way that best suits all parties.

4. Thank the person for listening.
When the conversation is over and you two have finally reached either an agreement or some other kind of understanding, make sure to thank the person for their time. It’s no easy task hearing that you’ve done something wrong, and it’s even harder when it comes from someone you care about (like a friend), so make sure you let the person know that you really do appreciate the time they have taken to listen to you.

While it’s never fun to have to tell someone that they have upset you or let you down, oftentimes it’s necessary. Hopefully, the next time you’re in a sticky situation that leaves you not wanting to come across as a bitch, but needing to stick up for yourself, you’ll have the confidence to guide a conversation that will put the outcome of the situation in your favor.

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Lauren Ruvo is a sophomore at Boston College who is double majoring is Human Development and Communications. Lauren is originally from Las Vegas and doesn't think she will ever get used to the winters in Boston. Lauren writes for The Heights as well as the Boston College branch of Her Campus. In her free time, Lauren loves shopping, traveling, spending time with friends and family, spin class, and cooking. She is very excited about joining the Her Campus team!
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