Communication Styles

Passiveness

Early twenties (8 months pregnant): Bobbie’s at the mall with her first husband shopping for shoes. Bobbie sees a pair that she really likes and asks the salesclerk if they have the shoes in a size five. The salesclerk, in a patronizing manner, says “The children’s section is over there.” Deep down, Bobbie hopes that her husband will stick up for her, but he doesn’t say a damn thing. She ends up not sticking up for herself because the salesclerk is an old lady, possibly in her sixties. It’s a cultural thing…in Korea, younger folks respect the elders.

Passive-Aggressiveness

A customer service rep is blatantly rude to Bobbie, but adds “Sweetheart” to her comment as if it justifies her rudeness. Bobbie takes it in being somewhat confused, although her intuition tells her the truth of the matter. Instead of speaking her mind, she says nothing. But instead makes a complaint to the manager on a comment card.

Aggressiveness

A customer service rep is blatantly rude to Bobbie. Without hesitation she shouts, “I’d like to speak to your manager now! You are about the most worthless customer service rep I’ve ever encountered!” The customer service rep looks humiliated and apologizes. She then mentions that she had a really bad day. Bobbie feels like an ass.

Assertiveness

Bobbie’s in line at Popeyes, that she goes to often for lunch, and she notices that the same rude cashier is mistreating the customers again. She’s especially rude to the old woman standing in front of Bobbie. At this point, Bobbie’s blood pressure is increasing rapidly. By the time it’s her turn to order, she leans over to the cashier and says gently, “Ma’am, I come here often to eat lunch, and I noticed that you’re always rude to customers. I understand everyone has their bad day, but you have one too many. If wasn’t for these customers, you wouldn’t have a job. So how about treating them with some respect and kindness since they deserve it? Now, if you don’t like your job, perhaps we can make an arrangement with your manager?” Now Bobbie didn’t know whether or not the cashier would change her behavior in the future; however, the thought that she may think twice before treating someone else that way was suffice.

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~ by Bobbie on November 10, 2011.

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