Assertiveness 101 for Nice Guys in Relationships
Last week I went over how giving too much of a shit can lead to chronic rejection, pain, and lack of success dating (click here). Today I am addressing how the aspect of caring too much that nice guys have a tendency to do can hurt your relationship. I want to share a personal example to point out how nice guys can appropriately assert their needs without having to do the complete opposite and be a total asshole.
This past weekend we celebrated my wife's birthday. Of course the focus was on her and what she wanted to do. That's par for the course when it comes to birthdays. Well, sometimes us so called nice guys can take the obvious too far and forget our own needs in the process, even to the point of making an event a completely self-sacrificing experience. All of this is done in the name of romance, kind of like a Bryan Adams song. I love Bryan Adams, very romantic, but not always realistic. You know, the "Everything I do, I do it for you" kind of unrealistic?
Anyway, all of this has stood out to me thanks to one of those Facebook friends who is not really a friend trolling my timeline to make a comment on a photo my wife and I posted. His comment seemed benign, but knowing him and his nature to be a very sarcastic person, it was clear his intent was to try to make me look bad, like I was being selfish on my pregnant wife's birthday to stop at a brewery that was local to where we were going for the day. A kind of White Knighting on a Dark Horse kind of sarcasm. Gotta love those Facebook friends who aren't really friends.
You too might think "Woah, doing something you wanted to do for yourself on your wife's birthday? Nuh uh!" Well my friends, I too would have had this same mindset 10 years ago. And 10 years ago this trolls opinion would have shattered my confidence and I would have felt horribly guilty and tried to prove myself to any partner at that time by doing something way over the top to prove this troll was wrong about me. I would have gone out of my way to prove what a good guy I am to get back to feeling ok with myself. It really would have had nothing to do with my partner, but my self-image.
Why all that drama? Because like most of my readers we've learned that doing what we want is selfish. It's wrong, so we've been taught. It challenges what we believe about ourselves, and what we think others think about us (which is just another round about way that reflects how we think about ourselves).
So, here is the lesson to giving up irrational giving too much of a shit what other people think...
1- Communicate so your partner is aware of where you are at emotionally and what is on your mind. Fact is that I had been wanting to visit this brewery for weeks at this point, and my wife knew this. Weather and other excuses got in the way. I was frustrated we had not made it up prior to that day. I had already communicated that to my wife a few times, long before her birthday, so she was already well aware of my frustration. Also, ask her, and get a read on where she is at and what she wants. Get the 4-1-1 (if anyone still knows what that means)- What I mean to say is get the info. If she had communicated to me that she was not going to set foot in another brewery with me for another 6 months I probably would have rethought this situation and come up with another idea about how to do what I wanted at another time.
2- Give up assumption. We could also call this trying to mind read. Stop trying to read her mind and give her what she hasn't even said she wanted. My wife never said "I want a day where I am the complete and total focus of the day." If I tried to give her this we would have missed a good time together and I probably would have been a nervous mess trying to provide this to her, anticipating every detail of what she might or might not really want. Yep, I've done that as well in the past. Most nice guys do, and let me tell you it's not pleasant. You often end up ruining the date because you're so on edge trying to make it just right. Realistically, for my wife, as long as we were out and rolling toward our destination, any adventure along the way was an added bonus, as long as we got there. If we parked at the brewery the rest of the day that would have been an asshole move on my part and she would have been horribly unhappy. So, don't go telling your partners that Dan Bolton said it's ok to sit in a brewery all day and drink beer, no matter how good the beer is, all day on her birthday. Just to be clear. Refer back to point 1- communicate.
3- Don't be afraid to say what you want. Because I have been working on my assertiveness for years I was not afraid nor anxious to tell my wife that I wanted to stop at this brewery to taste my new favorite beer on tap. She wanted a day to walk around a beach town and this brewery was right around the corner. I said, "Hey, let's stop by that brewery and check it out quickly on the way." Even better, because I had been communicating my desire to do this for weeks already, I did not even have to explain why to her. It was already clear, there was no conflict, and it was one piece amongst many that day that led us BOTH to be happy and have a great time together.
You can substitute this example with countless others in which there may have been something that you wanted to do, but chose to remain silent about it whether out of fear and anxiety, or the belief that it's the right thing to do. This only builds up resent. Together is the key word. Together takes two. Two people being happy. Don't leave yourself out of that equation. It is the recipe for an unhappy relationship.
If this is still anxiety provoking... tune in next week and I will add some specific strategies you can use to squash that anxiety like a bug!
If you're a Nice Guy who is tired of not getting the girl, or feel like you keep getting the short end of the stick in relationships, I will be running an in-person and online group called Self Respect for Nice Guys. I'm here to coach you how to use your authentic personality to your advantage to get the type of attraction you want and find a happy, healthy relationship or turn the tide in one that is not making you happy. No more getting walked all over by women, no more seeing only other guys get the girl. It's your turn now... It's time to make it happen! This is for motivated men who are willing to take the next step, but need some direction. If you want to sign up for this group, do so here: www.selfrespectforniceguys.com. This is more than the regular email list. This group is for men who are ready to be active in the next step in their personal transformation.
Make sure to reserve your spot in the group! Availability is limited... www.selfrespectforniceguys.com
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