Thursday, October 28, 2010

Don't take it personally.

I've worked out us humans don't like being told no and many of us also have trouble saying no.  I know, I'm obviously a genius to have worked this out, but it really makes me wonder why it's so important to us. Today I said no to someone, and they were hideously offended, demanding the reason why I would be so bold as to say no.  Well love, it's none of your friggin business actually.  I just don't want to! 

Just because I say no doesn't mean I don't like you.  Of course it may not mean I do like you either, but that's not the point.  It doesn't mean I don't like what you're offering or that I'm intentionally trying to offend you.  It just means no, not this time.  Or maybe never.  Who cares.  It's just no. 

My problem is I don't say no often enough.  I like to avoid the exact thing that happened to me today.  I don't like letting people down, which is strange cause I'm not a big fan of people so why should I really care?

My life has been a mixture of being a yes and a no person.  Up until the last few years if you asked me to go for a helicopter ride, I would've said no. If you'd suggested I swim in the surf, I would have said no.  If you suggested I start writing a blog, I would have pissed myself laughing, then would have said no.  I really had no sense of adventure (which is odd because I'm a rally co-driver, but that's a story for another time).  I just didn't want to do anything that was out of my comfort zone.

On the other hand though, if you asked me to help you pretty much in any way, I'd say yeah, sure.  I'd agree to look after your kids (even though I don't really care for kids that much), be secretary of the pre-school or run a school fete.  And I wouldn't even wait to be asked.  I'd stick my bloody hand up for it!  "Hey, pick me!  I'm hanging to volunteer to do something I really don't want to".  Seriously, what sort of idiot am I?

So my problem now is that I'm starting to conquer one side of  my yes/no persona but my other side still needs a lot of work.  Today if you suggest I jump out of a perfectly good plane, I probably won't say yes, but I'd come up with a workable compromise.  Something along the lines of  "How about I watch YOU jump out of a perfectly good plane?"  I will say yes to going on that ride at the theme park, I'll say yes to bobbing around in the surf like a pogo stick and I'll say yes to learning how to row a kayak.  And my life has been so much better for it.

Now all I need to do is teach the other side of my personality to say no.  Next time the position of class co-ordinator becomes available, I really want to say no.  After I conquer running the school fete, I need to say "thanks for experience, but I don't want to do that again".  I need to remember I don't actually like children all that much when I'm about to volunteer to have 57 of the little shits over to my house for a playdate.

I guess that's something for me to keep working on.  In the meantime I'll keep saying yes to all the things I used to be scared of doing and practice saying no to all the things I don't want to do.  And it would be doing me a big favour if you don't take it personally.


  1. But you are still saying yes to dinner on the 19th? or is that a Yes, I mean NO. Would love to catch up again! So proud of your blog!

  2. Definitely saying yes to dinner on the 19th! Wouldn't miss it. :)

  3. As soon as you figure out how to say no, please let me know. I said yes over ten years ago trying to help someone out and so far I have taken over his life. He moved out of the States and I ran his business, sold a house, managed his other house while he kept scaring the tenants off, all via email, so I had to find more. And now selling his last house, and I had to evict the tenants with kids, all for no compensation, except for the fact that I could say I did it. Just one chapter in my book.