No Thanks, That Doesn’t Work For Me

4 Nov

I know a man who has a reputation for anger. 

Really? Him?

Yeah. When he goes off he goes off.

I don’t see him often. It’s not usually my problem, I keep out of it. Apparently he’s often buying apology baked-goods though.

The other day he had trouble with a piece of technology and asked for my help. You’re young, aren’t you an expert on this? And when none of my suggestions helped he cursed, loudly, suddenly, and directly in my ear.

I vocalized in shock, nearly spilling my tea, and gave him a look. This is not acceptable behavior in my presence.

Moments later he was ashamed, apologizing for startling me like that, and stalked off to torment someone else. Someone who would let him.

You can decide how you’re treated. If you decide that something is unacceptable and you stick to it then the people around you will notice. Expect a higher level of respect and you’ll either foster that behavior in those around you or lose the people who aren’t willing to give it to you.

Tonight I got dinner with a family member who’s favorite topic is “Oh, I couldn’t possibly eat all that, you’ll have to help me.” If I order dessert it’s, “You should order two! But don’t ask for a spoon for me.” It isn’t about me, it’s about her. And it makes me crazy. And tonight as always she tried to foist her food on me. After years of “Fine, just put a little on my plate,” and “I don’t really love eggplant,” tonight I just looked her in the eye and calmly said “No.” Oh. “I ordered exactly what I wanted and I don’t want anything else, but thank you for the offer.” And for once in her life she dropped it.

So ask for what you want. Say no to things you don’t. You only live once, right? Don’t let anyone make you eat eggplant. Or worse, calamari.

One Response to “No Thanks, That Doesn’t Work For Me”

  1. and then she thought better of it. November 6, 2015 at 11:34 am #

    The older I’ve gotten, and the more years behind me I have of motherhood, the more apt I’ve become to just say, flatly, “No.” No explanation. If the thing was extended as a gesture of goodwill, then it’s “Thank you, but no,” but otherwise, “No, none for me” and “I don’t have time” or “I don’t want to do that.”

    When I hear locutions like the ones above, I usually wonder what in hell the person’s getting at, why I’m being talked at like I’m at an HR meeting, and I feel handled. I understand now that this is just people who’re desperately uncomfortable with “no” trying to find a way of saying “no”. I still don’t like it, but I understand it better now. So thanks.

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