Sunday, October 18, 2015

Thou Shalt Never Say No To Me

(Or The Lost Art of Accepting ‘No’ For An Answer)

My phone beeped. A text message.

“Blah! What plans 2nite?!!!”

“Dinner”, I tapped back.

“Cancel it! We’re meeting XYZ.”

I scowled – you know, my usual 'I smell something really rank and I might have stepped in it' face. This message from someone hardly that familiar to me. I resent being dictated to. Even an "Any chance you could cancel or postpone?" would have been far more polite and I would have reconsidered.

Digging my cloven hooves in, I typed back: "No."

My phone beeped again. "Do it."

I didn't bother further.

Every self-help guru out there seems to be spouting wisdom on how not to take ‘no’ for an answer. It’s about high time they shut their little pie holes, you think?

'Leaning in' is one thing. 'Sitting on and pummelling' - or being a pushy, obnoxious ass - is quite another. Unfortunately, that fat line between the two hasn't just been blurred – it’s been Brazilian waxed into oblivion. Yes, it's a sore point.

This brings me to the lost art of the Invitation. An invitation used to be a polite affair – a cheerful "come on over, this is going to be fun" sort of beckoning. It used to be truly inviting. It used to make you want to go, sometimes in an "I’ll grovel and kiss your stinky toes and clamber over your iron-spiked fence, pretty please, do not revoke this invitation" kind of way.

Somewhere along the line, an invitation has been equated with a commandment. It is the 11th Commandment: "Thou Shalt Not Say No To My Plan Ever, For Whatever Reason." For someone who has quite the reputation for being snarky, I have a surprisingly low tolerance for rudeness and pushiness.

Any time I *gasp* dare to say "no", I'm met with an immediate aggressive "But I've done A, B, C and bought D, E, F" and so forth. When I, oh-so-coldheartedly, stick to my guns, the person usually then resorts to whining and guilt tripping of sorts. "But you did not come for Occasion Z". What's with all the "butting"? That is just irksome.

It’s simple really. If you are issuing an invitation, the expectation is that people can answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ depending. A gentle persuasion when you get a ‘no’ is okay. A spoilt-brat type tantrum is not.

Since when did it become okay to think that your plans must take precedence and override somebody else’s prior appointments?

For everyone out there reading this and thinking about the numerous times you've been pushed over and badgered into ungraciously accepting an ‘invitation’, please take heart. There are a few of us sitting around and smarting about it too.

Now, just dig your heels in as much as you can and say ‘no’ if you want to. And when a spoilt-brat type tantrum is received, simply issue an invitation of your own:

“You may strategically place your wonderful lips upon my posterior and kiss it repeatedly!” (Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows)


  1. "It's been Brazilian waxed into oblivion" - LOVE!

  2. Don't be controlled by anyone as it can be a slippery slope. And I too liked the 'Brazilian waxed' line!

  3. I love how you day kiss my ass!

    1. You know how the saying goes - nothing is worth saying unless you can say it politely ;-) (Plus the half-wits will never catch on!)

  4. I'm here, I'm here :) I must dust off the cobwebs on this blog and hop to it, huh?

  5. I'm here, I'm here :) I must dust off the cobwebs on this blog and hop to it, huh?


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