Alphabet Series - N is for No
The Beatles sang those words and I imagine there has been a time or two in your life when you pretty much said the same thing. You wanted to do something, he didn’t. You didn’t want to do something, she did. We don’t always agree of everything and sometimes, with some people, it seems we rarely agree.
I am not here to try and get us to agree, although I would like you to agree with me. I am not her to discuss civil discourse, but I would like that too. I am here to support you in saying yes, no and maybe.
I want to encourage you to have your yesses mean yes, your no's mean no and your maybe's mean maybe. On the surface that seems like a fairly obvious and achievable goal. And yet, very few of us are able to fully adhere to having yes mean yes, no mean no and maybe mean maybe. Let me tell you what I mean.
Let's say I ask you if you would help me out with some errands I have to run over the weekend. Would your yes mean yes or no mean no and how would your maybe play out? A lot of times you may reluctant to say no and can't think of a good excuse off the top of your head and say "Sure. I'll help you out." The closer it comes to the weekend the less interested you are in helping out and by the time the weekend rolls around you may have come up with that excuse. Or maybe you show up but wish you had not signed on to help.
What if you wanted me to get together with you in the near future and I didn't want to? Would I be able to tell you I didn't want to get together or would I say "Great" and hope you don't follow up? If you did follow up I hopefully could come up with a good reason I couldn't make it right now. I might hope you got the indirect hint and didn't reach out again. I am sure we have all had people who wanted more from us than we wanted to give. Have you been able to respectfully speak your truth or have you just faded away - which is now referred to as shadowing by the teens I know. It may be comforting to know the practice is common enough that it warrants its own name. You aren't alone when it comes to shadowing.
When someone requests something from you there may be times you are honored and glad to help out and times you really do not want to get involved. And there may be times that part of you wants to do it and part doesn't want to do it. My general advice is when someone asks you to do something say "Maybe. Let me get back to you."
Then when you have had some time to think about it either let them know:
A) You would be happy to do whatever it is they want. You may have some points you want to discuss more.
B) You don't want to help them out. Now, most people are not going to be able to speak the real truth here which is they don't want to help out. So, they opt for something more socially acceptable - "I am sorry, I can't ..." Ideally they can get away with that, but realistically most people feel they need to give a reason (read excuse). "I can't come I have to do such and such."
C) or, as most are want to do, text them that you can't make it. While I don't condone delivering negative news via text, I know the impersonal ease of it, makes it very attractive. If there person is important to you, don't text. Otherwise use your judgment.
I continually endeavor to be as honest and congruent as I can be. I'd like to think I get good grades in this subject, but know as open and forthcoming as I can be, there usually is room for improvement. I am going to write about lying next week, but for now I am focusing on having my yesses mean yes and my no's mean no and buying myself time whenever I can by saying "Let me think about that and get back to you." I will tell you that phrase has helped me out as much as any other.