It takes practice, but you can do it! :cheer:cheer
It will get easier and easier! :up
I'm cool with the plain "no" answer but what gets under my skin is when people press you for an explanation and won't accept the reason, especially people who are supposed to be good friends. A few months back I was at a job where I had a regimented 11:30 to 12:30 lunch hour, with a daily 1 p.m. conference call. Friends invited me to lunch for a specific day, at 11:30...then it was 11:45...then it was 12:15. At that point, I said I couldn't go. They knew about my work schedule, then I was practically Gaslighted about not being able to go. Texts, calls, emails, "why are you abandoning us, are you okay, we're really worried about you?" BS. It really irritated me. I'm still in limited contact with them, but the whole "are you okay" harkens back to a psycho friend of mine from HS that I just don't want to go there.
This makes me think of a quote:
"Never explain. Your friends don't need it and your enemies will never believe you anyway." - Elbert Hubbard
Personally, I'm unsure what it was that caused my perception to change (may have something to do with getting older and no longer feeling the need for validation of worth from others). If someone expects me to explain myself then they really don't know me. I think people like that are simply looking to make the intended "victim" feel uncomfortable.
My favorite comment is "I'm sorry I am late ... but today I decided that I am worth waiting for." :)Quote:
"I'm so sorry I was late" is, IMO, much better than the apology followed by a whole narrative about why I was late. People really don't care.
People laugh and it breaks the tension if any.
Usually you are meeting with people who may be friends or family and probably have better things to talk about than why you are late.
As for the "No" answer, I will usually give some reason because I myself usually like a reason if something is declined or cancelled.
Excellent and insightful point, echo226! It definitely helps to have a sense of humor to lighten the situation.
I think the exception to giving an explanation is if it's a matter affecting others (ex. others relying on you to get an important project in on time at work). If the matter is trivial, then it's not needed.
I discovered that controlling people often use the excuse that they are worried about you to get you to get in their control.
A few years ago, I started using "no" in a way that works well for me. I add, " . . . but thanks for asking!" with a big obviously fake smile that indicates it would be really stupid to continue pushing on the request.
Example: When asked to spend several hours a week volunteering to do something that I really don't want to do, I put a cheesy grin on my face and respond, "No . . . (pause) . . . but thanks for asking." And then I immediately change the subject.
So far, it's worked every time. Even when I was working. Asked if a certain task could be completed in an undoable time frame, "No . . . (smile / pause) . . . but thanks for asking."
Who can be mad at you when you have a big smile on your face? It apparently totally disarms and surprises people, and they don't push further.
I've told this before...it was an attorney, an elderly gentleman, who taught me to never apologize, so I quit doing that. It gave me some control that maybe I didn't have before he taught me that. It came in very handy since I worked with a lot of men; I don't think, at first, they quite knew how to take it but it did work! :lol
It also helps that I don't "do" guilt, so I don't have a problem when whomever has a problem with me saying 'no' or not apologizing....or, at least over-apologizing. If it's really necessary (apologizing, and sometimes, it is), I'll say it once and that's the end of it, for me. Anyone with a problem with my apology/no....it's just that.....THEIR PROBLEM. I'm moving on!
People with control problems are one of my pet peeves. My last actual fight was with my sister when I was 13, and I'd had all of her control attempts that I intended to put up with. She lost. We left hair all over my bedroom!! :lol We never had to revisit that issue again.
I think in this age of writing to each other ... which excludes tone of voice and can distort meanings and intent ... an explanation or clarification ... might be in order. The words I'm sorry needn't be used but something akin to an apology might clear the air on both sides..
Haven't we all worked with the woman who started almost every statement with "I'm sorry but" ? It drives me up the wall because that approach makes her an empty suit. There needs to be balance.
Words are so powerful ... and on occasion a little humility helps.
I think it was C.S. Lewis who said: "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, itís thinking of yourself less."