[Courses] [Spineful Living, Lesson 4: Saying No!]
carla at bratgrrl.com
Sun Apr 22 20:03:17 UTC 2007
Lesson 4: Saying No!
There are two circumstances when it is hard to say no: when someone wants you
to do something icky you don't want to do, and when you are being offered
great opportunities and you can't possibly take advantage of all of them.
In the first case, it's rather amazing the things that people let themselves
get roped into. I'm sure we all have our own sets of horror stories.
Sometimes you feel driven by necessity, like taking paying work that you know
you won't enjoy, and might even have a bad outcome, but you feel you have to
because you need the money. It might be something as trivial as choosing what
movie to watch. Then you don't like the movie, or didn't really want to watch
a movie, and feel all abused and resentful because you never get to do what
you want. Maybe your boss is a classic Dilbert case who gives you assignments
that you really shouldn't be doing, or worse, treats you like the lowliest of
administrative assistants instead of a skilled professional in your field.
Maybe you get married and have kids and enter a profession you really don't
want and live this weird, unsatisfying life because your parents think this
is what is right for you.
Life is too short to waste.
What do you do about this sort of thing? The first step is taking charge of
yourself and knowing what you want. That's why we started off with dreams. If
you passively waft through life, letting other people make your decisions and
bossing you around, please spare us your complaints! The cool thing about
being a grownup is you get to make your own decisions. (Unless you live in
some sort of horrible oppressive culture, which is a subject for another
If you've established a reputation as a pushover, it will take some work to
break out of that. But it might not be as hard as you think. Just being asked
to do something is not a command, though some people take it that way.
Someone asks you to donate money to some cause and you don't want to, don't
make excuses. Just say no. People have their hands out all the time- you are
under no obligation. When was the last time someone came to your door to give
you anything? I bet never. You get asked to volunteer to organize the church
softball team and you don't want to, just say no. Your significant other asks
you to do some kinky thing you don't want to, just say no. Anyone who tries
to pressure you into something you don't want to do is not your friend, and
why should you be nice to people who are not your friends?
"What's in it for me?" is a good way to evaluate whether or not you will do
The type of pressure that gripes me the most is "come on, it's good for you!"
I totally do not care. I will decide what is good for me, thank you very
much, and the more you push the more I want to push you into a mud puddle.
Preferably one that has been visited by incontinent livestock.
I know this is often easier said than done. It takes practice and thought.
What if you get roped into something, and then realize later that you are
unhappy and really really want out? That's a bit harder, because breaking an
obligation is something we are trained not to do. But that's a good option-
they got along fine without you before, and will get along fine without you
in the future. What would sticking it out to the bitter end gain? Hopefully a
lasting lesson so you don't do it again. Other than that, what...? In my
experience, nothing that really benefited me.
====Dealing With Too Many Good Offers====
Val Henson is apparently living the good life, because she asks "How to say no
to things that are fun, good for you, and just too much to
do?" That's a lot harder. As a starting point, I suggest going back to the
beginning: what do you really want to do with your life? Out of all these
kewl offers, which ones will get you where you want to go? What will you gain
from saying yes? Putting some focus into your life will make a big
This can relate to "When Nice = Rude", when people are too "nice" to say no,
and get over-committed, and end up making messes and letting other people
down. Even when it's nothing raining nothing but awesomeness, you can't
capture every raindrop. What are your real motives for making a yes or no
decision? Do you even know yourself?
Homework: Read the freaking book :) 'When I Say No I Feel Guilty"
Another excellent one is "Women Don't Ask", which addresses the issue of how
we limit ourselves beyond how other people limit us.
Linux geek and random computer tamer
check out my Linux Cookbook!
best book for sysadmins and power users
More information about the Courses