Listen Live

Photo credit: HT-Pix / Getty Images

You’ve noticed they have walked by the sink several times today and yet, it never occurs to them to do the stack of dishes right in front of them!?  Your blood boils … frustration grows, until you say something passive aggressive (or just plain aggresive) about how apparently you are the only one in the house who can wash dishes.  What happens next?  Sometimes it’s a fight… sometimes it’s the silent treatment.  Or sometimes you get, “Why didn’t you say something?”  And with that, it’s another layer of frustration, because “I shouldn’t have to say anything!”

Maybe. Maybe, not.

While it would be great if people in our lives – whether a spouse, friend, co-worker or family member, always knew what we wanted or did things without asking, that doesn’t always happen. So rather than being disappointed or frustrated (which generally then leads to resentment), be assertive.

Assertive isn’t being “bossy” or demanding.  It’s clearly and directly letting people know what you want. It’s an opportunity to share your expectations, rather than assuming they know. And be nice and not accusatory, too. Share how you feel – “I get stressed seeing the dishes pile up.  Could we talk about a way in which we can share that chore?”  That’s much better than, “Why don’t get off your lazy butt and help me out.”

Having different expectations and priorities is okay and normal. Rather than assume they know yours, be assertive and let them know… nicely.  My guess is you’ll feel less stressed and frustrated and your relationships will be better off, too!