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Tell it don't yell it: How to get what you want the smooth takin' way.

You're ready to explode! Your parents' ridiculous rules are absolutely destroying your social life. Or maybe your English teacher is giving you a completely unfair grade. Or perhaps your BFF or BF is being a total jerko. No matter who's got you all in a tizzy, sometimes you just want to blow a gasket and tell them all to just buzz off. But wait--there really is a better way....


OK, you're definitely about to lose it. You can feel the anger boiling up, and who can blame you? You're ticked off, disappointed, maybe even furious. You'd like to tell all these people exactly how they're making your world completely miserable.

But hold up. Before you mouth off and do more damage, think it over. Do you honestly think verbally clobbering people will suddenly make them smile at you, act super nice and grant all your wishes? Yeah, right. Heat-of-the-moment statements are often bitter, accusatory, blaming, demanding and never likely to win anyone over.

The trick to getting what you want?

Knowing how to ask for it. Time to say adios to being a whiner and, hello to being a winner.


The situation: You and your buds are psyched to attend the party of the year this Saturday night. That is, 'til the 'rents break the news--you have to sit for Little Bro instead. Aaargh!

What you want to say: "Are you kidding me? That's so unfair! I'm not your slave! Why did you have that loser, anyway? You're ruining my entire life!"

The winning way

That speech should land you a date with your brother and death by Disney videos. If you're desperate to go to the party Saturday night, let's rewind. When you clash with parents, the playing field is not exactly even. Like it or nor, your parents are in charge. But that doesn't mean you can't speak up for what you want. You need to help them understand you--so they're more likely to give in!

one: Take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Now, do it again. Repeat as necessary until you're sure every part of you is totally chill. Keeping a cool head is key. That way, you can think more clearly and won't blurt out stuff you'll regret.

two: Figure out what you really want and, before opening your mouth, be clear about what you want to say. If you want to go to the party, don't rant about how much you hate babysitting for that PB&J-encrusted brother of yours. Stick to the matter at hand--you wanna go to the pah-tay!

three: Understand your parents' perspective. Getting where they're coming from will probably deflate your anger, so you'll have a better chance of expressing yourself in a way that lets them truly hear you. Suppose your parents weren't intending to ask you to sit, but their sitter backed out? Suddenly, their situation is kind a similar to yours. They probably wanna party, too.

Four: Come up with a compromise. How can you both win? If you're stumped, imagine your best bud is in this sitch. What advice would you give her? That might ignite a spark.

Five: Now, you should be ready to ask for what you want...calmly. Say something like, "Hey, Mom and Dad, I understand you need someone to watch Little Bro, but I've been looking forward to this party. Could we negotiate? What if I found another sitter for him? Or could I go to the party for a little while, and babysit when I get back?"

The bottom line: No guarantees the 'rents are going to cave. But with such good planning, it's doubtful you'll get into a screaming match. And they'll surely be impressed with your efforts to solve the problem maturely. Chances are they'll do what they can to help you at least make an appearance at that bash.


The situation: Your BFF agrees to be your science partner but expects you to go along with her oh-so dull idea for the project (merely thinking about measuring fruit fly wings puts you into a coma). Besides, she acts like she's the boss of you.

What you want to say: "Who died and made you queen? That's the dumbest idea ever. My 3-year-old sister could come up with something better."

The winning way

Despite her bossiness, your BFF will likely be hurt or ticked if you attack her (and her idea). Plus, that won't help you even come close to what you set out to do--get her to consider the brilliant project you've been brainstorming about. How to get her to consider your ideas?

one: Again, take a deep breath, and let it out slowly. You know the drill. Keep breathing until your body feels relaxed and your brain is clear.

two: Are you hot to do your project idea no matter what, or are you open to discussing other options? Maybe you just want your BFF to respect your opinions. Decide what it is you really want.

three: Get inside your BFP's head. Is she bent on this because she always gets A's in science? Is she trying to take control because she's totally nerve-wracked? Is the bossy thing just part of her personality? Does she feel insecure when it comes to school stuff? If you can figure out what's making her act so difficult, you might be able to crack this case.

Four: Can you compromise?. Discussing other ideas is the goal, right? While looking at things under a microscope, you might discover there are deeper issues beneath the surface. But if you still want to be science partners, be ready to explain your position.

Five: Say what you have to say. Try something like, "I really want to be your science partner, but it bums me out that we haven't considered my ideas, too." Or, "Sounds like you've really thought this out, but I have some ideas of my own."

The bottom line: Again, no guarantees your BFF isn't going to say, "But the wing span of fruit flies is totally fascinating! How can you even think of researching anything else?" But since you've approached her without heavy artillery, she's more likely to listen to your ideas and work with you to meet somewhere in the middle.


The situation: Not only does your English teacher totally nix your polite request to turn your term paper in a few days late due to a killer case of the flu, but she threatens you with a big fat zero that will mutilate your OPA.

What you want to say: "Do you have absolutely no compassion? Is that part of your job description? Or were you just born this mean?"

The winning way

Again, you're dealing with authority. But, unlike your mom and dad, your English teacher probably doesn't love you unconditionally and won't be willing to overlook a full-out hissy fit. So before you spout off at the mouth, put together a plan of action.

one: OK, deep breaths. Count to 10. Blurting out what your entire caf table calls her behind her back definitely won't benefit your crusade.

two: What do you really want? To turn your paper in late and avoid that zero!

three: Put yourself in your teacher's sensible shoes. She's probably heard your flu excuse (along with dogs eating term papers) countless times already. You need hard evidence to solidify your case. A signed and dated doctor's note can't hurt.

Four: Can you compromise here? Maybe not, but you can give it a try. If your teacher knows you're not trying to pull a fast one, will she give you an extra day or two? Some class time to go to the library and work on it? Maybe just dock a few points rather than the big zero?

Five: Just say it. Pick a time when your teacher is free to talk with you, not when she's busy and distracted. Then try something like, "You know, I've really been quite sick, and I would never ask you for an extension unless I really, really needed it. A little extra time would allow me to do a really good job on this paper. Otherwise, I'm afraid it will be half-baked. Is there some way we can work this out?"

The bottom line: Your teacher might. say, "What don't you understand about 'No'?" If she doesn't budge an inch, it may be time to call in the reinforcements (that means ask your parents or school counselors to step in). But maybe you'll hear the golden words, "I'll give you until Monday."


The situation: The gorgeous guy you've sorta been going out with is planning to go camping the weekend of your big blowout birthday bash.

What you want to say: "How dare you make other plans? Well, go right ahead on your dumb camping trip. I hope your armpits get infested by Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes."

The winning way

So your sorta BF isn't doing what you'd like. That hurts. But let's face it--unleashing the beast within you isn't going to entice the hottie to cancel his weekend. In fact, it might make him extend his outing.

one: Breathe! (This should be crystal clear by now.)

two: Describe your disappointment: "Bummer! I was looking forward to seeing you on my b-day." That's honest--and gives him an opening to apologize and make it up to you. If he doesn't catch on, you can follow up with, "Maybe we can celebrate another time?" (Hint, hint.) Keep it short and sweet. Giving a new guy a major guilt trip will likely backfire.

three: Get where the guy is coming from. Maybe his fam has been doing this camping thing for years or he had this planned way before meeting you. More than likely, this is not a personal insult!

Four: Is there a solution? Your hunk might not bag his sleeping bag sesh, but give him a chance, to make you a happy camper. Maybe he'll suggest a post-bash din-din, If he's fixated on the great outdoors and roasting on an open fire, he might just say, "Yeah, well, camping is awesome. You oughta try it sometime." In which case, feel free to let him know you're an expert with a compass.

Five: Say how you feel and what you want. And leave it at that. After all, you can't expect everyone to arrange their schedules around your birthday. Since you two aren't a solid item, you might have to settle for, him being super apologetic for missing your fab bash. Still, he might come up with something way sweet.

The bottom line: Even if you don't get your way, you get a sense of assertiveness from speaking up effectively. That should make you feel pretty terrific about yourself. And that always rocks.

Oops, you blew it

Suppose you forgot step No. 1 and blew your cool. Now, what do you do? Well first off, it happens to the best of us at times. Second, all is not lost. If you said something combative, the person you spoke to is probably less than thrilled. But you still have a chance to get it right (or at least better) Start with good, old fashioned apology. "I'm sorry for getting upset. I'm not happy about the way I said that. "That often works. If not, try again: "[know you're upset about what I said. I wish I could take it back." Next, get right back on track-and follow the plan in this article by asking for what you Want directly but without flying into a rage. This time around, it might just do the trick.
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Article Details
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Author:Cohen-Sandler, Roni
Publication:Girls' Life
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Previous Article:Can you think like your guy?: Rate your level of dude knowledge. (Quiz).
Next Article:Trouble in sibling paradise.

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