Have you ever placed an order for something, then when it arrives you feel nauseous, because it’s horrible, and you’re afraid you’ll have to live with it for the rest of time? In my case, the culprit was a giant mound of supposedly “dark brown” garden mulch. What kept staring at me instead, was a mountain of orangey, tannish chips which looked like it escaped a Walmart parking lot. I spent some time spreading it in the flower beds, trying to convince myself that it was sort of exotic-looking, or that I was too fussy, and getting carried away with this gardening stuff. Then it occurred to me that I might call the supplier and ask them what they could do about it, that maybe I didn’t have suffer with it all season just because I had opted for dark brown, not black. I was respectful, and clear that they had misnamed it, even when a guy came out to look at it with me, and tried to convince me that the mulch lightens up in the sun. I calmly pointed out that the pile was under a thick canopy of trees where no sun had ever shined, (with a smile), and that I was sure we could come to some resolution. One hour after he left, assuring me he wanted a happy customer, a truck showed up with a four additional yards of deep, dark beautiful mulch. The company earned my undying loyalty for valuing my concern, and it was a lesson in the benefits of saying what you need, instead of feeling like a victim and silently stewing. It’s the same in any relationship– consider your complaint, if it feels valid, voice it, then state the request embedded inside. Commit to assertiveness in your relationships, (even with your landscape supplier), presume a mutually satisfying solution, and chances are you’ll get to one.
P.S. Look for my new article about couples and intimacy at: