Feature Archive

Are You a Wimp?

Experts offer tips on assertiveness at home, at work, and everywhere else.

By R. Morgan Griffin
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario

It's 5:05 on a Friday. You're buttoning your coat as you hurry to the exit of your office building. But behind you, the door to your supervisor's office rattles open. You can sense his approach. You know what he's going to ask. But this time you'll be strong. After all, you've had absolutely unbreakable plans for months.

Yet when your boss taps your shoulder and asks -- again! -- to come into work on Saturday morning, your backbone transforms to overcooked linguini. The words spill out of your mouth before you even know you're speaking. "Sure, no problem," you hear yourself chirp. Once again, with a few words, you've ruined your weekend.

Sound familiar?

Well, you might be a wimp. But the good news is that it's a treatable condition. In order to help the countless self-diagnosed wimps out there, WebMD got some advice from psychologists who specialize in helping people learn assertiveness and how to -- at least occasionally -- say no.

The Many Faces of the Wimp

While some of us are universal wimps -- cowed and unassertive in every arena of our lives -- a lot of people specialize, says Sharon Greenburg, PhD, a psychologist in Chicago. A milquetoast at work can be bossy, or even tyrannical, at home. A confident go-getter will stammer and sweat every time she has to return something to a store.