Friday, August 3, 2012

When no means NO!

When someone tells you no, does it register?

Honesty (Photo credit: basswulf)
Do you stop what you are doing or saying?

Or, do you continue?

No, means no!

        No, I do not want that food. No, do not sit on the dog. No, I do not want to answer your question. No. No. NO!

       I recently wrote a piece on manners for my blog; and one of the commenters asked me to write on accepting no. Her example was one I was actually all too familiar with so I thought, why not.

“These days when people say no thank you to an invitation, for some reason they feel compelled to explain why. Invariably, the comment is something like, "I can't make it because I am doing something WAY MORE FUN than attending your event!" A simple "no thank you" should be sufficient. I use a "no thank you”, no matter if I have another pressing engagement or I don't feel like going. Also, when I use my simple "no thank you”, I have been asked to explain why I can't go. "What else could you be doing that could possibly be more important and why don't you rearrange it?" the host demands. It makes for an awkward situation.”

       I am with her on this. If I invite you somewhere, you do not need to explain unless you happen to be my best friend and we always explain why you cannot attend. A simple “I would love to, but I’m busy that night” more than suffices. When I am invited and I do not wish to attend or for some reason, cannot, I simply say thank you for the invitation, but I will be unable to attend. I also wish them a great event.

       I do not feel I need to explain past that response and I absolutely abhor being interrogated. It really is not anyone’s business. Anyone who has this habit might want to check themselves. The next time you ask someone “why”, you may just get an honest answer you do not want to hear. I know that in my life, it has gotten to the point where I get really honest in my answers when pushed. Yes, it makes for an awfully awkward moment, but then again, put the awkward back on them with an honest answer not ugly – honest. After all, they pushed the subject.

       At one time, I had a friend who was obsessive about knowing everyone’s business. She had a bad habit of asking inappropriate questions and would not take no for an answer. She would push and push no matter how many times you told her that you did not want to talk about something or that it was none of her business.

       I am an extremely private person  -you are probably thinking private? and so she writes a blog?- and I do not like other people in my business. If I constantly change the subject when you ask a question, you can be absolutely sure that is "Me telling You" - finger pointing here -  that I do not wish to talk about whatever it is that you are trying to pry out of me. Now, on the other hand, if you cannot shut me up, it is a clear indication that I am willing to share, so at that point, you had better ask your questions, because those times are rare.

       I have recently adopted the policy, if someone keeps pressing me for more information, to the point of being rude, and making me uncomfortable, then that person needs to hear no less than the truth. If being nice and giving an evasive answer does not work, then transfer the awkward position that they have put you in, to them. Tell them the truth. You just do not want to attend. You have other things you would rather do.

       I know this sounds rude, but to have to resort to this type of answer, means the person has pushed you beyond appropriate boundaries. It should not matter why you do not want to attend a function just that you do not; and you have been respectful in stating your feelings.

Colossians 3:12-14 tells us, "... as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." (NIV 1984)

       We all need to be mindful of others in our lives, and to remember when having to give answers to difficult people, be as kind, and gentle, as you are able to be. Some people still may not “get it” but our job as a Christian is to keep the exchange as kind as possible and extend forgiveness for their ignorance.

Thanks for joining me today!
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      As always, I encourage you to share your opinions and experiences, and/or questions. Remember to show courtesy to others in your comments.


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  1. I love this post! I hate having to explain why I can't go to an event. Thank you!

    (Also, I really like that you make people stand behind their words on the comments!)

    Konstanz Silverbow

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I am someone who feels no explanation is necessary. I am a logical thinker and to me, (maybe no one else :) ) that is the way it is. So glad you visited!

  2. I can usually say no pretty easily and often it's been to my detriment. In other cases I've had a difficult time saying no and have regretted doing something I didn't care to do and was not at all to my benefit. In either case the surprise factor in the outcome is what has made my answer worthwhile. Sometimes you just never know where yes is going to lead you or what you'll miss out on by saying no. But I certainly can agree with where you are coming from on this topic.

    Wrote By Rote

    1. Sometimes I just have the devil of a time saying no. I'm getting much better though. Probably because I've been pushed into it a lot. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing!

  3. This is a great post! Isn't it funny, that we have gotten to the point where we feel we have to add on, to justify, that simple "no, thank you"....I completely agree, we need to be gracious and kind, and try our best not to hurt others, but as you have noted, sometimes they continue to push for an answer!

    1. Being an introvert and quite private, I just never felt the need to explain. That being said, I must have a face that bears the expression - keep on explaining? Because sometimes people keep on and on and reveal things I really don't want to know. lol

  4. This is a really interesting topic to blog about. And I totally agree with you! I HATE having to give excuses for things, but I think we live in a culture that is so insecure and selfish at the same time that we have to make sure everyone's esteem and feelings are always in tact. It's pretty ridiculous though, because whoever said we have to give a reason for everything. I mean, you could literally spill your life story as a reason for any given thing, but is that necessary? Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, you are correct. I think we want to make sure that no one else's feelings are damaged, but at the same time we give up a little privacy. I like "let your yes be yes and your no be no.

  5. I know someone who really needs to read this post. She just doesn't get that me saying no to her is reason enough for her to back off. Many times she'll ask me to do something for her and usually I will because it's no big deal. But sometimes I really can't or I just don't want to. I don't think I should have to explain to her why I don't want to. Not that I usually explain since anything I say she will respond with "you're just making up excuses." And usually she gets angry enough to curse me out and/or throw things. She has no right to demand a reason from me and then hurt me both mentally and physically after I refuse. If she has two perfectly healthy legs and arms I don't see why I have to do things for her. I don't think she realizes just how much it hurts me when she does this and how I'll say yes sometimes just to avoid the drama.

    Thank you for writing this post. And sorry for the long angry rant. Said person just threw a phone at me for "giving a bad excuse."

    1. Michelle - Thank you for stopping by. I have a good friend who used the term recently "divorce friends" and I think that may be appropriate here. At times in your life you may need to "divorce" a friend or two. No one deserves to be treated the way you just described. You are a child of God and you are worth so much more. It does not sound like a healthy relationship for you.

      There is a passage in the Bible (I wish I remembered which) where it says that someone times we "must shake the sand from our shoes and walk away". I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I hope I didn't overstep my place.

  6. Thank you for addressing this issue. So many of us get caught in this cycle, and you have offered some great suggestions for extracting ourselves. It seems too many push guilt on those who say, no. I am horrible at saying no, and really meaning it. Getting a little better as I have gotten older. Thanks for the great thoughts and suggestions.

    1. Cecilia thank you for stopping by and commenting. Hubby and I were discussing this topic again yesterday. I was in a situation where if I had to be, I was going to be rude. I was going to transfer the awkwardness onto the person. Fortunately, I was able to avoid the situation and thus being rude. No one should have to explain themselves. If a person offers an explanation, then fine, but respect them when they do not. It means DON'T ask. Have a great day! Donna


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