I Feel, I Think, I Want
I can’t walk into a McDonalds any given morning without stumbling on a group of old guys razzing, debating, and generally enjoying one another. It typically spills onto me, and I love it. It makes me feel like I’m home no matter where I am.
In my McDonalds, they call me Computer Lady, though one guy keeps reminding the others, “Her name is Anna! Call her by her name, would ya?!?”
One old guy sits by himself. No crime in that. He razzes me, too, though in a different way. I am okay with his addressing me as “sweetie” and “honey.” I don’t mind the teasing. I do mind comments like, “Wow, you have great legs. You should wear dresses more often.” He typically waits until the others have migrated to their cars for the day’s errands before approaching me.
Point number one: I know he’s lying, since my legs are definitely my worst trait!
Point number two: Do I even need to say it? Creepy.
I wrestled over how to handle this for the longest time. I didn’t want to offend the guy. I mean, maybe he didn’t know. Maybe his comments were harmless in his mind. Maybe he had talked like this all his life and didn’t know any better.
But the comments offended me. Didn’t that count for something? If I didn’t stand up for myself, who would?
I dreaded seeing him. I felt like a victim in my own McDonalds!
I would play these scenarios through in my head; I would really “let him have it” with a verbal tirade about:
- how a guy old enough to be my grandpa shouldn’t be looking at my legs
- how my husband has one fist named Thunder and another Lightning
- how I’d just as soon not talk to him if he was going to be gross
Yep, that’s me…the Speak-the-Truth-in-Love Girl! I’m glad I happened upon The Awareness Model before taking action.
The Awareness Model is something we teach our colleagues as a means of avoiding reactionary responses. If we identify what we feel about a situation, why we think the situation is such a problem, and what we want for the future, we are equipped to actually build relationships rather than tear them down.
So taking my scenario into account, I finished the “I feel, I think, I want” statements like this:
“I feel uncomfortable with some of the things you say, for example…”
“I think it’s interfering with our ability to have open communication.”
“I want to be able to come in and be myself here.”
OK, I had a valid plan in mind…now to wait for the next uncomfortable encounter. I didn’t have to wait long:
“Hey there, sexy. What’s shakin’?”
“I feel uncomfortable when you say that.”
“Oh, come on! Are you serious?!?”
“That comment makes me uncomfortable.”
“But you’re a very beautiful lady. Why can’t I tell you so?”
“It makes me uncomfortable.”
“I didn’t mean anything by it!”
“I believe you, but I’m uncomfortable…” Hubidah, hubidah, hubidah, hubidah…
OK, so I stuttered on the “I feel.” My bad.
Since I didn’t follow through on the “I think” and “I want” statements, I really didn’t leave the door open for reconciliation. The guy got huffier and huffier during our exchange before exiting the restaurant. He sat and stared at me for his next several visits, coming in less and less frequently. It has now been months since I’ve seen him, and we don’t speak at all anymore.
I have a lot to learn, bringing The Awareness Model full circle. But I’m breathing a little better, holding my head a little higher, and generally feeling better about life because I validated my feelings.
Share your thoughts in the Comments section.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/86518301@N00/454021551″>Pagtirikan ng Kandila</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
About Anna Bradfield
Anna Bradfield has been spinning tales, exaggerating the truth, and flat-out lying almost as long as she could talk. Nowadays, though, she calls it fiction. Buy her ebooks, Hey Grampa! or Barnyard Babies today. Join the online community and receive a free copy of her ebook, Boy Crazy.