Monday, February 09, 2009

The nicer they are...

Lately I've been noticing some disturbing changes in myself. When I moved to MA, I could recall an embarrassing number of times someone was unapologetically rude to me for no reason. Strangers, coworkers, acquaintances. And I smiled and said nothing, telling myself I was a better person for not stooping to a behavior I would not be proud to call my own. I feel I was raised to respect strangers feelings and opinions as much as my own. The problem is when I put them above my own. These past few months of living in Massachusetts, I've noticed those numbers have gone down, and the times where I complained or confronted have gone up.

Last week, every time I drove in the car, I practiced the upcoming confrontation with my roommates girlfriend. This chick has looked right at me when I've said Hello and said nothing for the absolute last time. She stays 18 nights a month (I know because after she walked right past me once, I went right to the calendar and wrote a big S for everyday she'd stayed and counted the months until she graduates/ they move out). She hardly picks up after herself, and is as annoying as the day is long...longer if you've had to fake friendliness to her. I've checked around and at least 7 of our shared friends (who are also very polite to her) dislike her, as well. So I've been ready for a battle...But why? Am I that angry at having to keep my mouth shut for the sake of Matt and Ricky's friendship? If so, I'm a big girl. Why can't I just gently tell her how I feel about her behavior and ask what she'd like to do about it? Before I kick her butt outta there...sorry, there I go again..

Last night, after a particularly craptastic dinner at PJ's ( the company was the best part) I called to complain. I was polite and told them what they did right, and let them know EXACTLY where they went wrong. It was fine.

I've gone from a complacent doormat with moral high ground to a complaining, vindictive, secretive witch bent on battle with anyone who I feel mistreats me. That can't be healthy. I feel myself getting drunk with assertiveness that turns into this sense of righteousness- and I have to watch myself carefully. Maybe it's not a change of character so much as finally letting the real character run free. Still, last night I kept my cool and the manager at PJ's was polite and apologetic and I felt good about speaking with her. She explained, not excused the problems and I hung up saying "Thanks for listening, take care!"- big happy face!

With these two examples, and many more just like them, I feel that I've stepped up, but I suppose I'm still struggling to find the happy middle ground. And I think that's what it's all about.


Kirsten said...

I can't believe you called PJ's, that is GREAT! Yes, craptastic is a good word. I am not surprised that it sounds like they did NOTHING. Geez, a gift certificate or something would have been nice . . . not that I would ever use it by going there AGAIN. And don't worry, you still seem super sweet to me. Much nicer than most.

Megymelly said...

1. Always tell a manager (calmly, objectively) what was up with your craptastic meal. He/She needs to know what's going on in the restaurant. And never feel bad for doing so, as long as you did it right (calmly, objectively). Also, always tell them if you got very high quality service, too. Do a waitress a favor!

2. Who is this chick and where can I step on her? Seriously, this girl sleeps at your apartment and when you say "hello" to her clearly, she actually doesn't RESPOND? Um, are we 13? I think I would stop her after one such failed attempt at a greeting and ask her in cheerfully sarcastic way, "So, the word "HI" is such a bitch so have to say back to someone, isn't it?" That needs confronted. That's beyond rude, it's very disrespectful.

3. Assertive is cool. It's necessary. It's all in the way you do it (overly friendly works wonders, believe it or not). That's how you distinguish your behavior from the way Mom used to whine to the manager at Chi-chi's.