3 Ways To Fight Back Without Being Too Bitchy

Twitter is abuzz with Cristine and Sarah's tweet-war. Control the animosity in your own life with Cosmo's tips on getting things done your way--without coming on too strong.

The Twitter world is currently buzzing about Cristine Reyes' angry tweets yesterday. Her heated parinig tweets were allegedly out of spite toward fellow Viva talent Sarah Geronimo, as a lot of netizens figured. The latter is said to have made a double-entendre joke about Cristine "chasing" after her co-star Rayver Cruz, who happens to be Sarah's rumored old flame.

Whether you're Team Sarah or Team Cristine, you would agree that it can really get on our nerves when someone steps all over our reputation or personal space. Gone are the days when women sat in silence when confronted with situations like these. Now, we feel the need to fight back, and sometimes, we feel our inner mean girl wanting to take over. But how exactly do we deal with sticky (and bitchy) situations without looking like the kontrabida instead of the resilient "victim" people should sympathize with?

Sometimes, to ensure things go your way (and to keep karma on your good side), you need to summon your fiercer side--but wisely. Being a bitch-on-wheels is actually counterproductive--it turns people off and makes them want to slam the door in your face. Susan Newman, PhD, author of The Book of No, suggests that “if you walk the line between being pushy and being a pushover, you’ll up your chances of success.” Here, some guidelines to follow.

1. Find The Right Tone: When dealing with a frustrating situation, the right attitude makes all the difference in the world.

Not Bitchy Enough

Say you have a friend who never coughs up enough cash during group dinners and you’ve had it. Being passive-aggressive gets across the fact that you’re irritated, but it won’t really change anything. So skip saying “Wow, someone didn’t put in enough money...” If you don’t address the guilty party directly, you give her the opportunity to pretend she doesn’t realize you were directing it toward her.

Too Bitchy

Causing a big scene will get you nowhere. “When you raise your voice, you put the other person on the defensive and they’ll dig in their heels,” says Newman.

Just Bitchy Enough

Use a firm, clear, but not hostile voice, and say something like “I think you miscalculated what you owe, and I really can’t afford to cover anyone else’s dinner.” You’ll feel better because you are calling her out but being decent enough to chalk it up to a mistake. Here’s what to do if you feel yourself starting to go over the edge and getting angry: “Stop talking and take a deep breath,” says Judith S. McClure, PhD, author of Civilized Assertiveness for Women. Rebooting will help you keep your cool.

2. Persuade, But Not Too Powerfully: It takes real talent--and the perfect level of coercion--to get someone to see your side of things.

Not Bitchy Enough

Perhaps you think your guy isn’t making enough time for you. Simply stating that his actions are unfair isn’t going to get you far because you aren’t spelling out what you aren’t satisfied with and how he can fix it.

Too Bitchy

Saying “maybe we need some space from each other” is the wrong move because he could call your bluff. “By making silly or idle threats, you diminish your credibility because the other person knows you won’t follow through,” says Newman. And you challenge him to a power struggle.

Just Bitchy Enough

Focus your criticism on the issue and how you’re feeling, not on what he’s doing wrong. For example, say “I know your boss isn’t the most understanding person, but I feel cheated out of quality time with you.” This way, you aren’t pinning it all on him. Then take the conversation one step further by offering “I miss you, so let’s get a long weekend away together on the books ASAP.” You’ve stroked his ego, so he’ll be more receptive to hearing you out…and to taking action. “Since a good boyfriend won’t want you to be hurt or upset, he’ll start thinking about what he can do to solve the dilemma,” says Newman.

3. Know When To Fold…And When Not To: There comes a point in any negotiation where you are bound to reach an impasse. The following are the make-it (and break-it) moves.

Not Bitchy Enough

When going head-to-head with a snotty salesgirl who tells you she won’t return your purchase, you may be tempted to stomp off at the first sign that she’s unwilling to bend. But while a dramatic exit lets her know you’re peeved, you’re stuck with the unwanted merchandise.

Too Bitchy

When it becomes painfully obvious that what you are pressuring for just isn’t going to happen at that moment, it’s pointless to simply up the pressure (for example, asking a store clerk for her manager, then the manager for her supervisor, then the supervisor for her boss). Being persistent is great, but refusing to accept reality just makes you look pathetic.

Just Bitchy Enough

If your opposition senses that you’re not going to budge until the situation is resolved, they’ll realize that they’re going to have to compromise with you, says Michael Lee, author of the online book How to Be an Expert Persuader in 20 Days or Less. Try a line like “I’m committed to finding a fair resolution to this issue, so please meet me halfway,” says Newman. Then suggest a reasonable scenario you could live with. By doing that, you spell out in concrete terms what will satisfy you, which helps move the ball down the field...in your favor.

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