Skip to main content

Why Can't I Say No?

Me, probably contemplating something deep... #painteddesert

Yesterday my daughter and I were leaving the mall and it happened...again.

No, I'm not talking about impulse control issues (that's for another post).  I'm talking about "them".

Those people who have the kiosks in the middle of the mall and try to sell you all manner of God knows what.  You know who they are...

I told my daughter to walk to the other side of the kiosk so I could avoid the inevitable, "excuse me, can I ask you a question?" kiosk-seller pick-up line.  My daughter wrinkled her nose and looked at me disapprovingly and asked, "why don't you just tell them no?"

Why indeed...

This morning, I got an unsolicited sales email from some guy at a bank who wants to come set up a table at our company to promote his banking products.  "Partnership opportunities" he called them.  I groaned and almost hit reply to tell him thanks but no thanks.  But I didn't.  

He had name-dropped, referencing another colleague (as if that makes it all okay) so I wondered for a moment if she referred him to me.  I debated ways to reply and couldn't think of anything that didn't sound rude.  Because why shouldn't anyone just be able to come in here and try to sell our employees helpful stuff?  We let Sam's and Costco do it once a is this any different?  So without a policy  or precedent to shield me, I did nothing.  My current plan is to just leave it and hope he doesn't send a follow up email.

Why can't I just say no?

Pretty AND Prickly...maybe there's a lesson here #sedona

Sometimes I console myself with the belief that it's just because I was brought up to be polite (or was it compliant?).  I was conditioned that it's not okay to be disagreeable or to make other people upset, which, when learned at an early enough age, pretty much means you conclude that you shouldn't have an opinion and that other people's wants matter more than yours.

But at my age, have I really not been able to get past that?  

I don't always avoid saying no.  On occasion, I've successfully told other people that I'm just not available or that I have other plans already.  I've even managed to tell a few telemarketers that I'm not interested and please take me off their list.  Baby steps...

But to be honest, unless there's a really clear "out", it's hard.  I've avoided flat out telling an acquaintance (for years!) that I'm just not interested in her direct marketing products.  I kept hoping she would get the hint (but so far, she hasn't).  I have avoided telling a former employee no when they asked me if they could use me as a reference.  I couldn't think of a way to tell them that I didn't really think they were a great employee in the first place, so all I said was "sure"...and responded to the reference in as generic and neutral sounding way as I could.

Should I have told her she was terrible?  Isn't that...well, mean?
#bellrocksedona Maybe I need to take a lesson from this rock: be immovable!

I guess that's one thing that still needs a lot of work in my life.  Being able to say no, with or without a good reason.  Perhaps figuring out a way to get over the fear that maybe they will think badly of me.  Rejecting the idea that my character is on the line.  Reminding myself that I actually don't owe most people a complete explanation.  "No" should be enough.  

But because it's me..."no thank you".  

Maybe I'll respond to that email now...


Popular posts from this blog

Cheers to my first post!

When I was in college, someone very close to me told me I was boring. I was surprised...and hurt. Maybe because it came out of nowhere, but probably because it just might have been true.

Since then, I have amassed quite a few interests and experiences. I was already on my way into the military. Later,I decided to teach myself Arabic because it was unusual and no one would expect it. I deployed to Uzbekistan (a country most people I knew had never heard of nor could they locate). I've flown in an MH-53 Pave Low helicopter, been ziplining over a waterfall, spent 3 weeks in Uganda, fell in love with rock climbing almost 2 years ago now, and a few days ago, I rappelled off a 14 story building - twice.

I have never thought of myself as super-adventurous. I never even played sports in high school (I don't count the one season each of track and cross-country). But somehow that one comment catalyzed me to become someone who decides to do those types of things.

At the same time, I'…

Pretty | (Not) Funny | Rock Climber

My husband tells me all the time that I'm not funny.  He pats my head in a way that would only be condescending if we weren't married and says, "you're pretty".  And so I him, at least.  But when he isn't around, I have on several occasions, left other people in stitches... 

I have my dad's sense of humor, I suppose.  He loves those "dad jokes" that make you roll your eyes but still chuckle.  Personally, I have always taken immense pleasure in the inside joke.  Even if I'm the only one who's in on it.

So if I can't be funny, I'll settle for pretty.  And if I'm not as pretty, it's probably because I'm rock climbing.  Still wearing powder, covered in chalk.

Why Being Brave Isn't Enough

Look at me! Being brave!!

Okay, I'll admit it...I didn't exactly have to summon a whole lot of bravery for this shot.  I was already pretty pumped about going down again and was just super excited to have a photographer around this time.

But there have been plenty of times in my life where I had to be brave.

Starting public school halfway through the year in a new town after being homeschooled for 6 years...  Going to field training as an ROTC cadet where I got yelled at for 6 weeks straight... Facing financial uncertainty after receiving a layoff notice from a previous employer...  Calling our head of Security last week when I almost stepped on a huge spider in women's bathroom at work...

Yes, lots of opportunities for bravery.  The list could go on, but you understand.

So much is made of bravery.  It's desirable, admirable, and people will go to great lengths sometimes to explain to you the difference between bravery and courage.

But it's not enough.  It's n…