What to do when you want something and it depends upon another person? This isn't a problem when they agree to your request or stick to the plan. When dealing with others, the goal is to be equal not either better than or less than the other person. The official term is called assertiveness.
The most well known work on this topic is, "Your Perfect Right: A Guide To Assertive Living" by Robert E. Alberti & Michael Emmons. The first edition was printed in 1970 with the ninth edition coming out in 2008. The premise though was presented several years before with the book, "I'm OK, You're OK", by Thomas A. Harris, MD. The idea is that you have four positions when you relate to another person :
(1) I'm Not OK, You're OK, (2) I'm Not OK, You're Not OK, (3) I'm OK, You're Not OK, (4) I'm OK, You're OK
Assertive communication falls within the category of "I'm OK, You're OK". That your beliefs, feelings, and behaviors are equal to the other person.
You're being aggressive when you decide that "You're OK" and the other person is "Not OK". Here you feel it's acceptable to disregard the other person's beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. That yours are superior. Being aggressive often results in conflict, violence, and broken relationships.
The opposite is when you take a passive stance. When you decide that "You're Not OK" and the other person is "OK". Here you feel you can't stand up for yourself. That it's acceptable for the other person to disregard your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. That theirs are superior. Being passive often results in chronic relationship dissatisfaction, conflict, violence.
The final position is that nobody is OK; that neither you or the other person deserve respect. This position deserves its own post and we'll leave it there for now.
Typically, if you're using the aggressive strategy when trying to get what you want, you're almost always using the passive strategy--called passive-aggressive behavior. You swing back and forth between "taking it" when others treat you like a door mat, then feeling you've earned the right to lash out and become aggressive. Usually, though the aggressiveness is "sneaky" and the other person may not even know you're angry with them (from stealing paper clips at work to slashing someones tires).
So the idea is that you respect the other person, explain what you want or why their behavior is upsetting and then request what you would prefer instead. Sounds great right?
DOES IT REALLY GET YOU ANYWHERE?
The above question is what you ask when you've tried to be assertive and have been laughed at, ignored, or in general failed to get what you want.
You treat others with respect and resist judgemental attitudes for one reason. For you. While assertiveness isn't a secret weapon to get what you want, it's the way you respect yourself. Respecting your feelings and beliefs and how you see the world in a unique and valued way. Every time you think it isn't worth it to tell others what you think or feel; you're saying you don't count. That you aren't important enough to count which is devastating to your sense of self. Repeated enough, you'll find yourself defeated, depressed, and with no clear sense of who you are. In the end it's you that must acknowledge your own worth and begin to expect others to treat you like an equal. And to realize each person has the right to be equal to you.
What are your thoughts? How hard is it to keep a sense of your own worth when others are not supporting you?