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My mom used to make me schedule my own appointments on the phone. I dreaded this because like most kids, I was shy. Shyness wasn’t tolerated because being shy was akin to being rude. She made me talk to every adult who addressed me, to look them in the eye, shake their hand and everything. Relatives got a kiss on the cheek upon seeing them as well as before leaving, or else. If I wanted to get a pizza delivered or order something from a TV commercial, I was on my own. Little by little the fake courage I relied on grew into an actual backbone.
At restaurants, in line at the grocery store, at work, and even among friends, people will hesitate to assert themselves while others walk all over them. Excuses abound. Being introverted, socially anxious, or non-confrontational doesn’t have to make you a sucker. What those phone calls and forced interactions did was force me to be confident for later in life, when coy isn’t cute anymore.
The other night, a girl I know introduced a man she was into to her friend only to later discover the two of them on a date the next day. Of course her friend knew how she’d feel about this but she did it anyway. What’s even more messed up is that this girl ignored the obvious dick move from someone she considers a friend. No confrontation ensued. They even posted pictures together after the fact. Imagine her misery.
Consider this a reminder that you don’t owe anyone your time, money, or graciousness. You’re not being nice by not saying something to the jerk who cut you in line and you’re not being forgiving by not confronting your friend who hooked up with the man she knew you liked, because forgiveness can only come after an apology. It’s time to hold people accountable.
Speak up about the things that bother you and the things you need people to know about you even if its uncomfortable, dammit. Because confidence is a muscle and life gets so much better the second you decide to stop being a pushover.

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