Etiquette Hell

Etiquette School is in session! => "I'm afraid that won't be possible." => Topic started by: ------ on August 01, 2012, 07:42:04 AM

Title: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: ------ on August 01, 2012, 07:42:04 AM
Help! I need someone to send me some quick-growth hormone for my very lately born spine! It's just a baby but needs to get strong fast!

BG: My sister and I have only recently reconnected after a two and a half year rift. We had a bad falling out around the time of the last presidential election - we are on VERY opposite ends of the political spectrum. I have no problem with that in and of itself, but she (and her husband, from whom all her opinions generate) kept trying to "convert" me to their side...and a person can only take so much brow beating, hence the falling out.

After the falling out, we hadn't spoken in quite some time, until I finally said to myself that this was stupid and called her. We "reconnected" as they say, and have been catching up once or twice a week since then. Initially, she tried to go back to the same tactics of political conversion as before, but somehow (I don't know how) I managed to convince her I wasn't going to be changing my mind....or is it because she got roped into an MLM opportunity and now is focused on that?

You see, she's unemployed and her DH has been telling her to find a job. Six months ago, when HE was looking for work, they bought financial products from a MLM company that sells insurance and financial products. He thought about joining up himself, but then found a job in his industry and told my sister to follow up and join.

This last weekend, she completed the first round of tests for the Series 7 license. Meanwhile, yesterday I returned from my state vocational rehabilitation services orientation meeting (where I signed up with the hopes to qualify for career coaching and job placement services since my industry is evaporating and I need to find a new line of work and possibly go back to school) and she called me, all excited about this "opportunity" and how I should hurry up and buy the financial products she wants to sell and then sign up to be her "downline".

I DO NOT want to do this. I am against MLM on principle, and this company in particular after doing research. Furthermore, me in the financial industry? I don't think so. Me giving financial planning is like Typhoid Mary selling pies on a street corner. Disaster would be the inevitable result. Bad idea.

So...here's my dilemma. Given that we've had a contentious relationship in the past, and that we've only just begun to develop a tenuous "reconnection" in the last few weeks...how can I put her off gently? She is a very strong personality who does not accept a simple "No" for an answer.

Yesterday, I tried to put her off as best I could by saying "that won't be possible" and her response was a whiney "but whyyyyyyyyyyy? Do you want to stay poor forever? These products are designed for people like you who don't have assets....what's going to happen to you when you get old and need to retire someday blah blah blah.."

Every. Time. I. Said. No., she came back with another angle. It was exhausting. What ever happened to accepting NO for an answer? What is there beyond no? Do I have to give her the cut direct? Should I send her the information I found out about this company and what it does to its customers and representatives? It has a very poor reputation from what I can see. Or, should I be strong and just tell her what I wrote here? That I'm against MLM on principle and that me buying/joining just isn't going to happen and I can't even bring myself to morally support her in her efforts? I'm really confused about how to handle this. I don't want to escalate this into a confrontation and feel I need to tread lightly, but then again, she doesn't seem to respond to subtleties.

Oh, I need advice...and failing that...just some support or a hug, I guess. I'm lost.


Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: Oh Joy on August 01, 2012, 07:50:36 AM
First, a hug.

Second, how about, 'I'm not interested.  Sis, I'm so glad to have you back in my life. I'd hate for this to make things uncomfortable between us,' with a 'so please drop it,' if you have to repeat yourself? 

Best wishes.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: FoxPaws on August 01, 2012, 08:20:11 AM
{{{mrkitty}}} Personally, I think this -
Quote
Me giving financial planning is like Typhoid Mary selling pies on a street corner.
- is great, but I know MLMers are trained to see that as an opening to pitch their Patented No Fail Training Techniques.

How about, "Sis, I need your help. I need to know what I need to say so that you understand that I am not interested in this. I was so glad that we were able to reconnect, but lately it's like you don't even see me as family anymore - just your next potential "downline". It's hurtful; I'm starting to dread picking up the phone when it's you because I know you're going to be so busy pitching your product that you won't even care about anything I have to say."

Yeah, it's a bit of a guilt trip, but you can't always fight clean when you're dealing with the recently converted.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: camlan on August 01, 2012, 08:33:52 AM
"Sis, I don't do business with family. Too much chance of something going wrong and ruining our relationship."

Or just, "Sis, I've thought about it and no, I do not want to do it. Keep pushing this on me and you *will* destroy our relationship."

Pick one answer that you like and stick with it. Use it every single time she brings this up.

And if she continues to badger you, hang up the phone, walk out of the room, get in the car and leave. Continuing to argue with her only gives her hope that you will change your mind.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: Twik on August 01, 2012, 08:55:56 AM
Quote
What ever happened to accepting NO for an answer?

Remember, that is how normal social etiquette works.

Business etiquette allows you to be a little pushier. And there are shady companies that don't give a hoot about etiquette in any form. Unfortunately, your sister has accepted the company's mindset that all's fair when it comes to selling their product. She probably really believes that she is doing this for your benefit - I've dealt with these people before, and they are often sincerely deceived as to how much profit they're going to make. All you can do is treat her like any aggressive salesperson - polite, but firm.

Stop trying to give her reasons why you won't buy in. She will have been trained specifically in countering all your arguments. "I don't want to," is hard to beat, though.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: PastryGoddess on August 01, 2012, 10:44:34 AM
Just because she asks why, doesn't mean you have to answer.  If you feel like being a bit snarky you can add a "because I said so" to the end of that.

Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: Amava on August 01, 2012, 10:45:28 AM
She's your sister, and it sounds like you do care for her.
You have found information, about how the scam she has fallen for ruins people's lives.
Send it to her. There is always a chance that if she hears it from enough people, she will see the light before she gets into it even deeper.
The longer people are involved with these things, the harder it becomes for them to get out.

I know that the chances are high that she will not believe the information, that she will get mad at you, even, that she will say "you're just jealous" or "you're too paranoid" and stuff like that.
But hey, then at least you have tried.

And keep an eye out for other family members she might try to drag into it. Are your parents somewhere in the picture? Are they at risk? Do you have other brothers or sisters?
Be very, very careful and alert.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: BeagleMommy on August 01, 2012, 02:32:50 PM
Sis:  Blah, blah, blah company line about MLM
You:  I don't want to do that.
Sis:  But why?
You:  Because I don't want to.

Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Don't give reasons because she'll only get more determined to explain to you why your reasons are wrong.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: ------ on August 02, 2012, 09:36:13 AM
Thank you everyone for your advice. I think it will be most helpful, and I think I know what I need to do now. I feel much better. We'll see how it goes.

The sad part is, I'm not sure it's going to matter in a few months. I think she's going to give up (from what I read online, that's generally what happens to reps at this company once they realize they're not making any money at it).

She says she hates sales; she was a Realtor a few years ago, but gave that up because she hated the sales part. (!?) So, why she thinks she can sell this stuff (which, in my opinion, is a lot dodgier than selling real estate, which has actual value and benefit to people who own or even use property) is beyond me. She's normally a rational person, but when it comes to doing the bidding of DH, well, all of that just goes out the window.

Oh well. Nothing I can do about that, that's her business. But I'm not going to touch this mlm thing with a 20 ft pole, that's for dang sure.

Thanks again for your advice. Much appreciated!
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: ------ on August 03, 2012, 02:09:26 PM
Well. This is just LOVELY. I just got off the phone with some woman from said MLM who called me, attempting to pressure me into buying this stuff and then signing up to be my sister's downline. I guess this woman is my sister's mentor or boss in this thing. From what I read online about this company, they "force" new recruits to give them a list of everyone they know and their contact information or they have to pay extra fees or something like that.

Just for the record, I DID NOT give sis permission to give out my phone number to anyone, EVER. It looks like I'm going to have to expedite speaking to her about this. First, I need to calm down because now I'm angry. (I have issues about privacy. Years ago, a relative by marriage stole my identity online and arranged for someone to break into my house to attack me...hence that's why DH and I moved clear across the country and now I'm REAL choosy about who gets my contact info. Sis is well aware of this, hence my consternation).

Anyone care to pull me off the cliff before I go ballistic over the phone?!
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: Reason on August 03, 2012, 02:25:59 PM
I don't think you need to be pulled off a cliff. A sister giving your phone number to an MLM firm unprompted should be informed that you do not appreciate the gesture. I guess there is no need to go ballistic, but you should definitely let her know not to do that.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: Outdoor Girl on August 03, 2012, 02:27:10 PM
I don't think you need to be pulled off a cliff. A sister giving your phone number to an MLM firm unprompted should be informed that you do not appreciate the gesture. I guess there is no need to go ballistic, but you should definitely let her know not to do that.

I agree.  Keep it clean and don't yell but I would definitely go up one side of her and down the other for giving someone my contact information without my permission.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: MrTango on August 03, 2012, 02:28:06 PM
I don't think you need to be pulled off a cliff. A sister giving your phone number to an MLM firm unprompted should be informed that you do not appreciate the gesture. I guess there is no need to go ballistic, but you should definitely let her know not to do that.

Agreed.

If she persists, whines about it, or the MLM tries to contact you again, I wouldn't blame you for cutting her off again, permanently.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: GratefulMaria on August 03, 2012, 02:34:28 PM
Well. This is just LOVELY. I just got off the phone with some woman from said MLM who called me, attempting to pressure me into buying this stuff and then signing up to be my sister's downline. I guess this woman is my sister's mentor or boss in this thing. From what I read online about this company, they "force" new recruits to give them a list of everyone they know and their contact information or they have to pay extra fees or something like that.

Just for the record, I DID NOT give sis permission to give out my phone number to anyone, EVER. It looks like I'm going to have to expedite speaking to her about this. First, I need to calm down because now I'm angry. (I have issues about privacy. Years ago, a relative by marriage stole my identity online and arranged for someone to break into my house to attack me...hence that's why DH and I moved clear across the country and now I'm REAL choosy about who gets my contact info. Sis is well aware of this, hence my consternation).

Anyone care to pull me off the cliff before I go ballistic over the phone?!

I'll hold your coat.

OK, not helpful.  Breathe, take a walk if you can, and write this out for yourself.  You got great advice about how to handle your sister's pressure tactics; I would only repeat that you don't owe anyone an explanation and an "It's my decision, and the answer is 'no'" is definitely in line here.  She's escalated the situation by giving out your number knowing your history, and that definitely warrants a prompt and direct response from you.  Not to be draconian, but if you do end up changing your number, I'd consider not giving it to her and confining her incoming contact to FB or email; this depends on how she addresses your response.  (Others posted since I drafted this, and I agree that you may need to think about cutting her off completely.)
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: ------ on August 03, 2012, 02:35:16 PM
I don't think you need to be pulled off a cliff. A sister giving your phone number to an MLM firm unprompted should be informed that you do not appreciate the gesture. I guess there is no need to go ballistic, but you should definitely let her know not to do that.

You're right. I know you're right. That's why I'm waiting to calm down before I address this. I don't want to over-react and have the situation blow up into something serious. I'm trying to achieve perspective on this, because I know that the thing that happened years ago isn't healed yet for me. I'm working on it, but I'm just not there yet.

Part of my annoyance comes from the fact that DH and I moved way the heck out here to get AWAY from family drama, and I feel like since my sister moved out this way (her and her family live one state over from us; they didn't move here to be near us in any way/it was because he got a job there) she's foisting more drama on me. She is someone for whom every molehill becomes Mt. Everest. We all have bumps in the road, little annoyances and such, but with her it's an EARTH. SHATTERING. EVENT. every time. It gets exhausting for me after a while. This is part of the reason we moved away. Sheesh.

That's why I'm scared to address this with her at all, frankly. It's not like I can just calmly make a request to not give out my contact info, or "you know, sis, I don't support MLM's and will not sign up with yours, either, please respect that." That's the problem. There IS simply no respect. And I'm frankly tired of it. I'm tired of everything turning into some big dramatic debate or crisis. I'm just flat tired of it.

I thought friends respected friends? And that if you tell a friend "no" or "this makes me uncomfortable, please stop" they are supposed to respect that? Maybe that's why I don't have friends....I just don't trust people to respect my boundaries anymore, after all that happened.

See why I need a hug? I'm just feeling exhausted and let-down. Every.Time.I.Open.My.Heart. this seems to happen. Jeez.

***modified to add that this last part, about not trusting people or feeling let down, I acknowledge that this is totally my own issue. Trying to work on it - that's why I'm here...to get some perspective.*** That's why it's so hard for me to discern when it's an issue for me to be legitimately concerned about or if it's my issue that is popping up and I need to deal with accordingly. That's why I appreciate your feedback so much.***
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: AustenFan on August 03, 2012, 03:14:20 PM
Since etiquette and MLM scripts don't exist on the same planet I suggest getting a little more pointed.

When she brings it up heave a sigh and say "I thought we already discussed this and I said No." When she presses say "listen, I already said I'm not interested so I'm going to let you go. Have a good day, bye" and hang up, but you have to train yourself to hang up instead of continiung to object or allowing her to press the issue. She will have conversation scripts specially designed to refute every possible refusal you could give her, so a blanket NO is the ony way to go.

If she's as pushy with everyone as she is with you then I can pretty much guarantee this will be the politest conversation she has for a long time.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: buvezdevin on August 03, 2012, 05:12:33 PM
I'd have a call when calmer, and let you sister know you'll be following up with an email to ensure the following points are understood for both your sakes, in order to continue an actual relationship, beyond sharing relatives:

1.  The rule for keeping our relationship healthy for both of us is that the following points are observed:
  A.  When we may have different opinions, or feel a desire to persuade the other of *anything* including, but not limited to selling, either person may say "I am not interested in discussing this further" which we agree will be the other person's signal to either change topics entirely or politely end the discussion.
  B.  no contact information for either of us will ever be given to anyone or any organization, without that person's written okay in an email.
  C.  Whatever your sister may wish to add with which you agree as a guiding rule.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: PastryGoddess on August 03, 2012, 05:47:43 PM
I don't know how convenient this is for you, but you may want to get a google number.  I have one and it has been a life saver.  My favorite feature is the spam button.  With one click you can block someone's phone number and never have to worry about them again. :)
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: SpottedPony on August 04, 2012, 08:24:42 AM
After your update about the identity theft and its aftermath, I think you would be justified in taking off the kid gloves of calm politeness and tear a few off her with calm, controled fury.  Knowing what happened to you and knowing why you moved to get away from the drama and then giving out your contact information without your permission is way over the line.  Apparently she sees your polite no's as maybe instead and keeps trying, you need to get angry and make it very clear that you are beyond angry with her and are cutting her off.  She needs to be shocked into realizing that you are indeed serious about this and she needs to mend her ways if she wants to maintain her relationship with you. 

Good luck.

Spotted Pony
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: weeblewobble on August 16, 2012, 05:44:06 PM
The thing is, you're having the exact same argument that led to your estrangement.  It's not about politics or sales positions.  It's about your sister's inability to accept that you think differently than she does and don't want to mimic all of her choices.  Given the update, I would go back to non-contact for a while.  You can't trust her to make good choices in terms of what affects you.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: Twik on September 28, 2012, 09:47:47 AM
I think you have to be direct, because MLMers are not going to back off easily.

"Sister, I am not going to join your group. Not now, not ever. I don't want to hear about it again. If you insist on bringing it up, the conversation will be over."

If she gets into a huff and stops speaking to you, it just means that she doesn't respect you. And do you want to waste time with someone who views you not as a sister, but as a business contact?
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: bopper on October 01, 2012, 02:26:41 PM
"Sis, you keep trying to "convert" me...be it to your political party or new business venture. I applaud your passion, but I am not interested in being converted. I have told you I am not interested multiple times...Right now it seems that the only two options are that You Stop Talking to me about Politics and <MLM> (and that includes having other people talk about MLM), or I have to stop taking calls from you. I really prefer option 1."
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: ------ on December 13, 2012, 04:43:30 PM
Well, here's an update, if anyone is interested:

The whole issue is now moot, as DS and her DH are now persona non grata over here at the Mr Kitty residence.

After yet another bout of calling and emailing me trying to get me to sign up, I finally sent her an email politely but firmly telling her to STOP with the mlm recruitment. It was not going to happen and I wanted to hear no more of it.

Well, a few hours later I received a hostile diatribe detailing every real and imagined fault I ever had....with some vile and disturbing accusations about politics thrown in besides. Though I was tempted to, I did not respond, even though my brother, who can't stand her, offered to pen a vitriolic response on my behalf.

Then, on election night, at around 11:30 pm after the election was called, Dear Sister's husband called me every five minutes until 1 am leaving hostile, vitriolic and insulting messages for me and my husband because we did not vote the way he instructed us to.

And.....now we're done.

P.S. I don't care what anyone's politics are. The issue isn't politics, but rather how one expresses one's opinions. My brother and myself, well, we are of different parties. We disagree on some things, agree on others, and agree to disagree on yet others. Yet, we can talk all day about it, debating issues, and it does not devolve into insults, name calling or threats - because we keep the debate solutions-based and refrain from using ad homonym and other types of arguments. We also acknowledge that all political parties have valid ideas and are just as American as all others. In other words, we keep it civil, and the discussions are truly a pleasure, unlike my sister and her husband, who prefer brow beating. This is about them personally, NOT their political persuasion.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: PastryGoddess on December 13, 2012, 06:02:34 PM
Virtual double fudge chocolate chip cookies to you for having to deal with sis and hubs
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: ------ on December 13, 2012, 07:06:23 PM
Why, thank you! I think I'll just go ahead and help myself....mmmmm, delicious!

The taste of liberating myself from someone who  is verbally abusive and unrepentantly violates most of my boundaries is rather intoxicating....

Thank you everyone for your moral support. :)
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 13, 2012, 07:08:00 PM
I'll pass over a rum special.  I'm thinking I'd like one myself and they say you shouldn't drink alone.   :)
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: ------ on December 13, 2012, 07:26:44 PM
Dear Outdoor Girl,

I'll just go ahead and take you up on that. It is, after all, after 4 pm and an evening toddy, in this weather, is most welcome.  ;D
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 13, 2012, 07:36:53 PM
I'll just go pour, then, shall I?    :D
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: ------ on December 13, 2012, 07:53:25 PM
Oh, please do! In fact, I'll take two.... ;D

It's so nice to do, especially now that I don't have to hear the million or so things wrong with me...and how I'll burn in He**, and how I'm ruining the world with my vile presence....

Please, pour away! This DOES deserve a celebration!
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: PastryGoddess on December 13, 2012, 08:01:40 PM
I'll take one...or four :)  with the sounds of Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead! playing in the background
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: ------ on December 13, 2012, 08:10:43 PM
Haha! I was thinking the same thing!

Huh. This board must be having an effect on me. My original inclination would have been to respond to DS in kind...with an equally hostile letter in return. But, thanks to the moral support, and (I like to think) a little personal growth on my part, I chose the high road and to just ignore rudeness beyond all rudeness and not participate.

A part of me feels like I should feel bad or mourn the relationship, but, really, I...just don't.

There really wasn't much there to begin with, I'm afraid.

She can go ahead and find someone else to sign up for her stupid mlm scheme and to browbeat over politics.

Or, she can just GROW UP. Not my job anymore, not that it has ever been.

Yay! Pass the cookies...and the rum.  >:D
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: Outdoor Girl on December 14, 2012, 08:31:03 AM
I poured you a double, rather than two.  I was a little short on mix.

In case anyone wants the recipe for my Dad's Rum Special, here it is:

He mixes everything together ahead of time in an emptied bottle so that when he goes to make the drinks, he can just pour 1-2 ounces in the glass and top with (diet) cola - whichever brand you prefer.

~ Equal quantities of white, amber and dark rum
~ 1/3 quantity cherry whisky
~ 1/6 quantity pomegranate liqueur

The pomegranate liqueur part is what has varied over the years.  At one point, there was a tropical fruit based rum he used.  He's tried it with coconut rum, too but we didn't like it.  He's used spiced rum, he's used a pomegranate whisky.  Anything that would go with rum that has some fruity or spicy connotations to it would work.  Tailor it to what you like.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: ------ on December 14, 2012, 11:52:00 AM
mmmmmm. That sounds delicious!

I'm going to clip and save this one...might try this one for Christmas!

 ;D
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: rain on December 14, 2012, 08:49:41 PM
... my first thought was that it was the right time for the X-mas version of a "bunny foo foo" (hollow chocolate Santa filled with Kahlua & milk/cream)

(((hugs)))  to you & tis the season for spines of steel - what a gift to give yourself
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: ------ on December 14, 2012, 08:57:23 PM
Thank you, Rain. Bunny foo foo sounds like a good idea tonight.

{{Hugs}} double right back to you.
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: lovepickles on January 07, 2013, 10:30:47 AM
Thanks for updating. I'm sorry your sister is not what you need right now. She needs to respect some of your basic requirements as a human being in order to have a relationship with you. It is funny because most people will put up with a LOAD of personal garbage and only see harm in discussion with loved ones until it comes to the point of politics ... or in you case ... sales and politics! (ugh)

I'd encourage you to rethink some of the other more mundane conversations you've had with your sister. She seems very unhappy and judgmental.  I'd hate for some of her other boundary violations to interfere with your self-esteem.

<3
Title: Re: When "NO" is not enough
Post by: VorFemme on January 07, 2013, 06:11:25 PM
... my first thought was that it was the right time for the X-mas version of a "bunny foo foo" (hollow chocolate Santa filled with Kahlua & milk/cream)

(((hugs)))  to you & tis the season for spines of steel - what a gift to give yourself

If you have a chocolate or white chocolate snowperson - it's a "Cavorting Snowwoman" - drink two and you'll know why!!!