The only thing humans are born instinctively knowing how to do is probably breathing. So if you thought we are all born with a module of how you wanna be treated, I hate to break it you but we don’t. If you want to be treated a certain way, you’re gonna have to use your words and let us know.

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“I’ll treat you how you wanna be treated just teach me how,” – 50 Cent

We aren’t mind-readers, how am I supposed to know that you like it like that if you don’t say so. A million erogenous zones on the body and I am supposed to magically know that between the 3rd and the 4th rib on your right approximately 2 inches from the middle and one span down from your nipple is your spot? Are you mad? Lead me. Teach me. Take my hand and show me it. Failure to that then I’m getting a marker and you can X-marks-the-spot it. I’m like Scar in that way, “I dislike guessing games.”

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“…Cause a nigga only gonna do watchu allow,” – Cardi B

I’ll admit that some people will treat you like crap on purpose. I’m more concerned with those who mistreat you from a place of ignorance. It happens, don’t take it for granted. If you like flowers and your lover doesn’t buy you flowers, you must nip this in the bud (see what I did there?) To you, it might seem like he doesn’t buy you flowers because he doesn’t care about you. But have you considered that he might not like buying flowers because they remind him of funerals? OK, I took it too far with that. Maybe he doesn’t buy you flowers because he is broke and also men don’t understand our fixation with flowers BTW. It’s up to you to explain what you like and what you don’t like.

How you treat yourself sets a precedence

Watch how you carry yourself and how you speak about yourself. If you don’t think the world of yourself, it shows. It’s like how you can say you are clumsy but when someone else says you’re a klutz it’s enraging. Somehow you feel like the only person who can disrespect you is you. That ain’t it chief. If I see you constantly bringing sandwiches to work, I’ll assume that’s what you like and won’t bother taking you for a gourmet meal. You’re cheap, that is it. Normalise treating yourself and splurging on yourself. Set the standard for anyone else coming in that this is the life you live.

How dare you treat me like that, do you know who I am?

We do not know who you are and that’s the whole point. We come from different backgrounds and beliefs. Different gestures mean different things to different people. Some jokes have a specific target audience. If something hurts your feelings, say something. Sometimes silence implies consent. What you don’t resist persists (I read a lot of Instagram captions, can ya tell?)

So, next time someone doesn’t treat you right ask yourself if you stood up for you and corrected them. If they pronounced your name wrong, used your name in a hypothetical you didn’t like or made a rapey joke. You don’t have to giggle it away or my personal favourite, passively aggressive it. Most of these issues can be fixed with a simple conversation to say, “I didn’t like it when you did this, may you refrain from it in the future.” If they continue then by all means show them how you are the Tshaka Zulu of subliminal warfare.