When someone tells you no, does it register?
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 answeryour 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 aChristian is to keep the exchange as kind as possible and extendforgiveness for their ignorance.
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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.