The Art Of Saying No.

2014-06-07 10.09.58

My son Ranjan conducted a workshop for a group of young people yesterday on “The Art Of Saying No” and I decided that I will benefit by attending too.

Apart from the fact that Ranjan is my son and that I am likely to be very biased, I am glad that I attended because some of the problems that I have had saying no to people suddenly became easy to diagnose and rectify.

The first test was this morning when a friend rang up to invite me for a lunch outing and was almost pleading with me to go with him because he was all alone and did not want to to lunch out alone.  Absolute emotional blackmail which I was able to resist and in a perfectly acceptable way handle with aplomb and regret my inability to go with him without feeling guilty about it.

Fathers can learn from sons too!  Any lessons that you have learnt from your child?

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17 Responses to The Art Of Saying No.

  1. kylie says:

    my daughter told me off very gently today. i still havent learned to be consistent about being gentle. does that make her a bad teacher or me a bad student?
    dont answer that
    kylie recently posted..Wild Books

  2. Ursula says:

    I learn from my son every day he is around. He makes me shake my head in wonderment at his innate wisdom: Where on earth have I been all these years? Why does he, the Angel, have such an ‘old’ head on his young shoulders?

    As to saying “no”, Ramana. It’s a word/an answer to someone’s request I tend to avoid. How hard is it to keep a “friend” company over his lonely lunch?

    U
    Ursula recently posted..Looking from the outside in

    • For me, today was very hard. I was preoccupied with some other matters. The point however is how to treat the post no saying feelings and emotions!

  3. Delirious says:

    Ahhh…this is something I have struggled with in my life. I’m getting better with it as I age though. My kids are teaching me patience…
    Delirious recently posted..Doubting Thomas

  4. Grannymar says:

    What goes round, comes round. Beware the day you need or long for company to join you for lunch.
    Grannymar recently posted..Sunday One liners ~ 32

    • As part of the training, I also learnt how to accept no for answers Grannymar! The point of the workshop was not to learn how to say no but how not to carry emotional baggage after saying no and also, how to say no.

  5. Interesting situation. It sounds as if Grannymar and Ursula think you let your friend down, while you think he was trying to manipulate you. It reminds me of Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication where he distinguishes between a request and a demand. No matter how nicely a person asks, it’s a demand if he gets upset if you say no.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Blessings From Heaven

    • Ursula says:

      Jean, “interesting” indeed. Within a few lines you manage to make a salient point.

      I am currently in an upsetting bind with my youngest sister (think Rumpelstilzkin and you get her incandescence – if it weren’t so awful it’d be quite funny). God, she makes demands. DEMANDS. She can have anything from me. But, by way of example, to DEMAND an explanation why on earth I broke my arms several times back to back verges on the ludicrous. What did she say: There MUST be a REASON!

      Then she slams the phone down. Do count your blessings, Jean. I nurse mine. As far as Rumpelstilzkin goes I am in the red. Interest compounding.

      U
      Ursula recently posted..Help

    • The good Marshall got that one right.

  6. My kids and grandkids would insist I find saying NO much to easy. And I guess I am not a deep enough thinker to see manipulation, blackmail, demands and the like in a simple lunch request. That suits me just fine.

  7. tammyj says:

    i’m a day late apparently here rummy.
    where was i yesterday? oh yes. enjoying the rain!
    but it’s a fascinating post.
    i used to never be able to say no.
    now i say it quite well.
    my husband’s mother was a past master at employing emotional blackmail on everyone in the family.
    i have NO problems saying no to such people now.
    and no guilt later. everyone’s growth is up to them. we’re all at different stages. your friend will hopefully learn to be able to enjoy his own company when he can find none other.
    tammyj recently posted..lovin’ lists

    • Tammy there are some people who take kindness as a sign of weakness and try to exploit relationships and this guy is one of them. I say no to him quite often. No big deal and it is always a great outing when we do go out for a meal or a movie or whatever.

  8. nick says:

    Well, I have no child, but I’ve certainly learnt to say no after being far too submissive and trusting when I was young. In fact I’m good at digging my heels in and saying no over and over if necessary. There’s no point in agreeing to something that’s just going to be either hard work or emotional torture (or both). Luckily I’m not prone to guilt so once I’ve said no that’s usually an end to it.
    nick recently posted..English as she ain’t spoke

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