Nice Girls Don’t Explode. Sef-respect is a lot of work. Besides, they know tire marks are slimming.
“I know. You’re right. And I want to tell him the truth. I’m sick of clients like this who want to suck all my energy. I’m gonna be strong….(voice cracking)…Buuuut, I don’t want to come off rude or, you know — bitchy.”
Then my friend said she was returning to the office immediately to write the business email I was coaching her on, and that she’d call me for edits before sending it. C’mon now, ladies. Girlfr’en is a perfectly good writer. When she says “edits” I know she’s not seeking spelling or punctuation acknowledgement from me, but that she’s keeping her “Bitchy” appropriately down. Acknowledgement that she knows her “ladylike” place. Telling a client off but, you know, not in any mean, self-serving way, or anything so not cute.
On my end, I hung up bemused and touched by this woman’s (despite how this conversation may sound to the uninitiated) real growth of late. Only recently, she wasn’t nearly as close to ready to hear me tell her to drop the disrespectful or deadbeat clients in order to make the space to start attracting the kind of clients she wants to work with. Today, not only is she ready (Step 1!) and able to hear that message, but she’s been acting on it, too. It’s not like the economy is so much improved, so — she’s ready for some truth telling in her life. Yess! It’s all a process.
In order to understand her perspective better, this non-people pleaser (me) did a quickie Google of “nice girl.” Once more in my non-sugarcoated life, I was naively shocked that the number one search result was an article by a young woman titled, “How to Be Nice to a Girl.” This said so much! It highlighted for me how much generations of girls and women (because I’m pretty doubtful it was scores of boys and men that catapulted that article to Number One) over the ages just want to be liked, admired and treated well . Among the sky blue-haired, lip-ringed author’s 10 Steps list were items like: Listen to her, be kind, care, and once more, “listen” only dressed in a different Hot Topic outfit. My biggest take away from her steps list and the Tips to her Steps List (finally, this message did support what I was hoping to find for my friend) was, ‘…Only if you really mean it’. In other words: be genuine.
I couldn’t agree more with this teenage girl’s sage advice! As I learned at the school of hard knocks when I first started doing business, not all Big Boys are created equal nor “good clients” — so you’ve got to say what you mean because you genuinely, sincerely mean it. This includes everything from respecting your legit profit margins, your time, to getting paid on time. [A two-way street, incidentally but not coincidentally.] We show people how to treat us all the time. Every day. Respect yourself.
If you do, no more need to hide behind cutesy Go Girl! images or ironic movies that double-talk or sublimate a woman’s power into satirical humor or metaphors — when you’re genuinely self-respecting, others’ treatment of you will follow suit. So when I get my friend’s email for “editing,” I know I will be on the look out for her genuineness, on how clearly she’s expressing how much she means her “thanks but no thanks” message. To tell the truth, you’ve got to know your truth. To know your truth(s), you’ve got to ask (and work all your life to answer for yourself) the right questions. Here’s one: how do you let your Outer Adult Woman roll without flaunting or alienating your good true friend, your Inner Bitch? Self-respect! — PopSmartsZen
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