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To the Girl Who’s Afraid to Speak Up for Herself: You Can and You Should

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

Speaking up for yourself – we all have struggled with this at one time or another. Sometimes you let it slide if someone makes a comment that offends you. Or someone may be taking advantage of your kindness and ask too many favors of you. Or you’re the one who really needs to ask someone a favor. It can be hard, and people might get mad at you. But you shouldn’t be afraid. It’s always a good skill to know how to speak up for yourself. And here’s why:

1. People will be kinder to you.

A lot of the time you may be afraid to stand up for yourself because you’re afraid of offending someone. But you don’t have to yell at them. You can just say, “Hey, that hurt my feelings,” or, “I don’t like when you do this.” Sometimes people don’t realize they’ve done something hurtful, and when they realize it hurt you, they will avoid doing it in the future.

2. People won’t walk all over you.

This is the biggest point I can make. People notice if you don’t stand up for yourself, and they will take advantage of that. If your roommate knows you won’t call her out on stealing your clothes, she’ll do it again. Or if your coworker knows you’ll always cover their shift, they’ll continue to ask you to do so. While it’s still at the fault of these people for treating you unkindly, standing up for yourself gives you a way to tell them you’re not okay with their behavior.

3. You can get what you want.

This may sound selfish, but hear me out. Say you’ve worked somewhere for five years without a raise. Ask for one. You may be thinking, “Oh, God. What if my boss says no?” Well, you will never get one if you don’t try! Or go out on a limb and ask that guy you’ve been dating for a while to be your boyfriend. It may happen. And if it doesn’t? Maybe you don’t want to be with him if you two want different things. Some things will never happen if you don’t make them happen yourself.

4. People will view you as strong.


Be a strong woman. Strong women are awesome! If people see that you’re not afraid to voice your opinion, they will think you’re a good leader. Good leaders voice their ideas, they’re not afraid to tell someone no and they don’t take crap. And this can lead to a possible promotion to a leadership position in a club or a job. Or if you’re not afraid to speak up in class, your teacher may give you a better grade because she notices the effort you’re putting in. You have it in you. Just swallow the fear, and don’t be afraid to speak up!

5. If you offend someone… so what?

Now, I know this whole time you’re thinking, “But what if I offend someone?” This usually won’t happen if you’re polite about it. Speaking up for yourself doesn’t always mean being demanding. But there are cases where you don’t have to be polite. If someone is being straight up nasty to you, tell them. So what if they don’t like you? You’re never going get everyone in the world to like you. If they’re going to get mad at you for defending yourself when they’re the one who hurt you, then they may not be the kind of person you want in your life.


Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Kelly is the President/ Campus Correspondent at HC Pitt. She is a senior double majoring in English writing and communication rhetoric while pursuing a certificate in digital media. Writing has always been a passion of hers, and she hopes to work in book publishing and a best-selling author one day. She works as a tutor at Pitt's Writing Center and an intern at Creative Media Agency Inc. In her free time, she works on her novel, reads stacks of books and explores Pittsburgh with her friends.
Thanks for reading our content! hcxo, HC at Pitt