There is a guy two doors down from me, here in the dorm – a nice guy, a bit odd, overly friendly, and oh-so open. His favorite thing to do is prop his door open, play on his computer, and crank the music. I generally like all kinds of music, and I have been known to play it loud from time to time. Well, this guy truly likes all kinds of music, and plays it as loud as his speakers can handle it. It’s a good thing he has small speakers. So, here’s me, working on my computer, trying to concentrate, meanwhile this dude is down there playing some weird ethnic music, followed by the Star Wars theme song, with a mix of hippie music tossed in, in no certain order. It’s a classic scenario.
Over and over in my mind I envision myself going down there, screaming at him, telling him my mind, and slamming his door. That would feel great. I haven’t done this yet, and probably won’t. While reading the Bolton chapter, this scenario replayed itself over and over in my mind. Here is my revised strategy, which might just be used if the guy bothers me again. “When you leave your door open, I can hear your music in my room which makes if difficult for me to get school work done. I love music too, and certainly don’t want you to not enjoy it, but please don’t force others to ‘enjoy’ it with you. I noticed that when your door is closed, I can no longer hear it in my room and there is no problem. Thanks! So, what exactly are playing there? I have this great game?” The first sentence of this quote uses Bolton’s tactic. The feeling part, hostility and frustration, of it is implied. The last part implies that I intend to remain friendly and hold no grudges.
To be consistent with the project objectives, I will briefly explain a real situation in which I could have used the three part assertion method. Five years ago, at the age of 19, I worked at a local Western Sizzlin in Harrisburg as a waiter. I was one of the best servers there and made out well in tips. There were two parts to each customer experience that determined my tip, and this is basically true for every restaurant: my personal service, and the food. I had my side down cold. The cooks, not a chance.
One morning, things were busy and the cooks were especially bad. People were waiting way too long for their food. I went to the pick-up window to see what was wrong. Raph, the manager, was helping out in the crisis. He told me something to the effect of, “go away, there is nothing wrong.” I yelled in, “That’s BULLSHIT, Raph!” He stopped and looked at me, confused, angry, and more concerned about the situation. He said half a word, turned around, and things did actually improve for the moment. Raph knew that my main interest was for the customers. I was well known for being picky and a stickler for the best service possible. I believe maybe that’s why he stopped his retort and realized that I wasn’t attacking him. I loved the guy, he knew it. In this case, perhaps the three point method should have followed later, after things had calmed down. I did apologize for yelling, but did not explain it. “Raph, I love working here, but lately the kitchen has not been doing an acceptable job. This frustrates me and makes me want to quit. It is not possible for me to give the quality of service that these paying customers deserve when the food consistently comes out late, or not good.” I did quit that job because of the staff, not because I didn’t like the job itself or the customers. I still miss it.