How To Tell The Difference Between Being Assertive And Being Abrasive

By Gigi Engle

This probably won't be a shocker, but I am assertive as f*ck. I come from a long line of strong-ass women who know what they want and aren't afraid to ask for it. I learned from the best. I am proud of it. I am woman, hear me roar. All that.

I am a go-getter and I'm fabulous. I'm good at sh*t. And you know what? Talking like this does not bother me one goddamn bit.

But it bothers other people. People call me ”abrasive” when I go on these rants that personify my own badassery. And it's not just the tooting of my own proverbial horn that has gotten me this reputation as being “abrasive,” “hard to work with” or “rude.” It's a lot of things. It is a collection of sometimes isolated, sometimes justifiable incidents where I have taken things too far and pissed a whole lot of people off.

Another shocker (and by "shocker," I mean that in no way is this shocking), I can be really unlikable. I truly can be sometimes. I am prickly. I'm hard and unapproachable.

I applaud those who have broken down my shell, because they actually know that I'm a good and loyal friend who will f*cking murder anyone who messes with them. I am a good person. I think.

Herein lies the problem: I do not know the difference between being assertive and being abrasive. I don't know exactly when my over-the-top personality is putting people off.

I have trouble reading the room. It gets me into sh*t, trust me. I'm probably being a little abrasive just by writing this. I wouldn't know, but I bet I am.

Without further ado, behold my little self-analysis and what I've come up with under this whole assertive/abrasive question, the line of which I am constantly toeing.

When I want someone to do something at work, I don't usually use a question mark. No question mark. None needed. I know what I'm doing, and most people I know trust that. I just do my thing. In the office, people appreciate this assertive attitude. They think it's a positive thing, and they reward me for it.

Jessica Ariel Wendroff

But there are exceptions, which I am learning to navigate. As it turns out, people don't just want to listen to you speak. That is abrasive. So I am learning to LISTEN to what other people have to say.

I have also found that being real AF and telling my girlfriends at work not to be f*cking stupid and stop talking to asshats from Bumble is appreciated, but telling another co-worker that her presentation is f*cking horrible is not received well. See, I am learning.

I always want to be the center of attention. While this can sometimes be totally adorable and charming, this assertiveness does not always translate well in social situations (or in my case, when I'm trying to be sociable, because I f*cking hate everyone.)

I threw an ugly sweater party with my roommates because I think I'm hilarious. I spent most of this party tearing the assh*le out of one of my boyfriend's friends. I don't really like this guy, because he is a douche-canoe, so I made joke after joke. I could blame this all on the alcohol, but I don't drink alcohol. This was just me. It was just Auntie Gigi being Auntie Gigi.

I was really on a roll. I was loving it. It wasn't until later that bae told me I was being extremely cruel. Apparently, it wasn't so funny to his friend that I kept calling him a small-dicked f*ckboy and a creepy loser who would likely die alone. Apparently, this is ABRASIVE.

Here is a lesson I am learning, my dear children: It is not funny to be assertive in social settings like this. Being assertive at a party is ABRASIVE.

At this point in my life, after losing a sh*tload of friends to my outward assertiveness, the staunch belief that I am always right and my penchant to hold a grudge, I learned it isn't totally the worst thing in the world to be a little (emphasis on "little") soft sometimes with the right people.

I don't want just anyone to hug me or touch me in any way, but I let my boyfriend hug me and love me. I even let a few close friends snuggle with me. I am making progress.

I take the time to actually think about things before I say them. I consider people's feelings. I ask myself, Is this abrasive? Am I being mean because this moron needs real, good advice, or am I being hostile for no reason?

I want to be real AF, not mean.

I like being a fierce-ass bitch, but I don't want to just be a straight-up bitch. A straight-up bitch isn't funny. She's just an insecure little girl who doesn't want people to hurt her. She's scared. I may be a lot of things. I may be assertive, abrasive and hard to handle, but I am not scared.

So, I may not know the difference between being assertive and abrasive, but at least I'm trying to figure it out.

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