Respect, Effective Anger, and Being Taken Seriously
January 15, 2010 10:50 AM Subscribe
When I was growing up, people (including other adults) took adults a lot more seriously than people take me now. I'm an adult now, and turned 30 recently, but people don't take me seriously. How can I make this happen?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (75 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I grew up around serious people, like my father and the Scoutmaster from my Boy Scout troop. People who weren't on intimate terms with these people always addressed them with a title (such as Mr. Nymous for my father), and it took some doing to go from the "Mr. Lastname" stage to the "Firstname" one. When they had something to say, people listened closely to them and gave them a reasonably well-considered response.
Also, their anger had some force behind it. They weren't angry all the time, of course, but when they did get angry, people got scared and things got done fast.
As I said above, I turned 30 recently. I have an undergrad degree, a graduate degree, a job, and my own apartment. I pay all my own expenses. In short, I am an adult, but people don't treat me that way. They don't take me seriously, they call me "Anon" instead of "Mr. Nymous" (I have finally acquired the confidence necessary to object to someone I don't know calling me "honey," "baby," or "kid" on first reference, with acceptable results), and when I get angry, it just looks silly.
I'm sick of this--it feels like I'm just being treated like a tall kid. I want to be able to conduct myself in such a way that people who don't know me well call me "Mr. Nymous" on first reference (not "Anon"), that people take me seriously, and that on the occasions when I get angry, people get scared and things get done fast.
I grew up in the Midwest, but now I live near San Francisco--is this just a consequence of me relocating? If so, how can I learn how to conduct myself as a person who is treated with respect in the Bay Area? And either way, how can I learn how to conduct myself as a person who is treated with respect everywhere?
As I write this, I recall a negotiation course I took because I felt that I hadn't gotten the best deal I could in some recent transactions. While it was interesting and valuable, I concluded that I didn't really have a negotiation problem, but rather a power problem. That is, the reason I didn't get the best deal possible wasn't because I needed what they were offering more than they needed what I was offering--i.e., they could hurt me more than I could hurt them. Is power--the capacity to hurt people, or at least deny them something they want--the key or only thing that I'm missing? (In that case, I guess muddling through my life until I get to the point where I can affect others is the real answer.)
Any locally-available training courses you could recommend would be welcome, as would self-help texts, audio courses, or the like.