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  • November 21, 2017, 08:19:03 AM

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Author Topic: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"  (Read 11301 times)

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Raintree

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2017, 12:17:20 AM »
I read the column and the comments, and I thought Hax addressed a slightly different issue than the one the LW wrote about. The LW apparently did say no when the friend wanted to share a plate of nachos, and the friend got sulky about it. So the problem wasn't as much "How do I say no to something I don't want to do?" as "How do I say no and still make everybody happy?"

I agree that she needed to take the responsibility for her own decision not to share and not blame others: her friend for being a "bully," restaurants for serving huge portions, etc.

I wonder if this is a female issue, part of the "women should always eat as little as possible, especially around other women" mindset. One of the Hax commenters linked to this blog post: http://humbugbistro.blogspot.com/2009/11/3-women-enter-restaurant.html?m=0. It has the occasional naughty word but is very much worth a read.

Haha, too funny. I am not one of these women. I want my own, thank you very much, and I want a large enough portion that I won't leave hungry, and I don't care who is watching. But for some reason, people seem to think that tiny little desserts are for sharing. I am in Canada, not the U.S., and portions in restaurants tend to be pretty small. And then it's usually the waiter who decides I'm sharing the dessert I've ordered for myself, after others have declined, by putting the plate in the middle of the table with a bunch of forks.

browzer11

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2017, 12:52:32 AM »
Raintree ... Ridiculous. Bizarre.

Yes. Exactly. I have no use for any adult that can't say No. Regardless of their background or upbringing. It must be horrible to go through life as a doormat.

Yes, some of you may find my comment harsh. I don't care. Life is too short. And then it's over forever. "No" is a complete sentence.

I honestly wonder how some people make it through life trying not to "offend" others. 

Raintree

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2017, 01:04:55 AM »
Raintree ... Ridiculous. Bizarre.

Yes. Exactly. I have no use for any adult that can't say No. Regardless of their background or upbringing. It must be horrible to go through life as a doormat.

Yes, some of you may find my comment harsh. I don't care. Life is too short. And then it's over forever. "No" is a complete sentence.

I honestly wonder how some people make it through life trying not to "offend" others.

I do understand having a hard time saying no to some things. Depends on the situation. "We are SO short on volunteers and desperate, is there ANY way you could help, even if it's just for a few hours?" Harder to say no to, especially if you do care about the thing they need volunteers for, and especially if you know Person A will be stuck doing it if you don't, and you genuinely feel Person A needs a break. I might say yes to something like that even if I really didn't want to.

"Can you do me a huuuuuuge favour? My crisis has out-crisised my last crisis, and I could REALLY use your help with X." Also a situation where some people might have more trouble saying no than others, even if they are sick of that particular emotional vampire's crises. And a situation where someone might come here looking for advice on how to grow the backbone to say no.

But "No, I don't want to split an order of nachos"?? Really? That's just silly, IMO.

maksi

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2017, 01:35:36 AM »
It sounds absolutely exhausting, being a friend with a person who finds it impossible to say no and feels like you're bullying them every time you ask them a question they'd like to say no to. Yikes.

Two Ravens

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2017, 03:54:11 AM »
I read the column and the comments, and I thought Hax addressed a slightly different issue than the one the LW wrote about. The LW apparently did say no when the friend wanted to share a plate of nachos, and the friend got sulky about it. So the problem wasn't as much "How do I say no to something I don't want to do?" as "How do I say no and still make everybody happy?"

I agree that she needed to take the responsibility for her own decision not to share and not blame others: her friend for being a "bully," restaurants for serving huge portions, etc.

I wonder if this is a female issue, part of the "women should always eat as little as possible, especially around other women" mindset. One of the Hax commenters linked to this blog post: http://humbugbistro.blogspot.com/2009/11/3-women-enter-restaurant.html?m=0. It has the occasional naughty word but is very much worth a read.

Haha, too funny. I am not one of these women. I want my own, thank you very much, and I want a large enough portion that I won't leave hungry, and I don't care who is watching. But for some reason, people seem to think that tiny little desserts are for sharing. I am in Canada, not the U.S., and portions in restaurants tend to be pretty small. And then it's usually the waiter who decides I'm sharing the dessert I've ordered for myself, after others have declined, by putting the plate in the middle of the table with a bunch of forks.

I vividly remember one time my family and I were ordering takeout from a restaurant. I said I wanted this special pizza they had, and a relative suggested we split it, since "you're not going to eat that whole thing." (It was a smallish pizza, maybe 14 inches.)

I said, a touch resentfully, "I am starving. I haven't eaten all day. I am going to make every attempt to eat the whole thing."

Well, it was clear that my relative thought I was a total glutton, and then declared that in that case, she didn't want anything. It led to more hemming and hawing from everyone else, and we wound up getting food from somewhere else entirely. I was not pleased.  >:(


TootsNYC

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2017, 10:14:23 AM »
Ridiculous. The LW can't even say no to a suggestion to share a restaurant item? There are so many ways to do this:

"Hmm, no, I don't really feel like nachos."
"I think I'll get my own."
"You go ahead; I don't feel like nachos so I'm going to order a hamburger."
"No thanks; I'm looking at the chef's salad for myself."

Bizarre.

She actually can, and she has done so--remember that she eventually stopped having lunch with one specific friend because -on more than one occasion- the friend sulked the whole way through the meal because the Letter Writer did NOT want to share the nachos.

gellchom

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2017, 10:15:45 AM »
Raintree ... Ridiculous. Bizarre.

Yes. Exactly. I have no use for any adult that can't say No. Regardless of their background or upbringing. It must be horrible to go through life as a doormat.

Yes, some of you may find my comment harsh. I don't care. Life is too short. And then it's over forever. "No" is a complete sentence.

I honestly wonder how some people make it through life trying not to "offend" others.

I do understand having a hard time saying no to some things. Depends on the situation. "We are SO short on volunteers and desperate, is there ANY way you could help, even if it's just for a few hours?" Harder to say no to, especially if you do care about the thing they need volunteers for, and especially if you know Person A will be stuck doing it if you don't, and you genuinely feel Person A needs a break. I might say yes to something like that even if I really didn't want to.

"Can you do me a huuuuuuge favour? My crisis has out-crisised my last crisis, and I could REALLY use your help with X." Also a situation where some people might have more trouble saying no than others, even if they are sick of that particular emotional vampire's crises. And a situation where someone might come here looking for advice on how to grow the backbone to say no.

But "No, I don't want to split an order of nachos"?? Really? That's just silly, IMO.

That's why the letter sounds to me less like it's really seeking advice on how to handle something and more like a bid for congratulation on how wonderfully polite she is -- she'd rather die than risk offending! -- and condemnation of her friends (not just the sulky one) for taking advantage of her saintliness to "bully" her (by just asking her if she'd like to share a dish; heinous!).

I wonder if she still considers it bullying (or rude or pushy or whatever) when she does want to share.  I'm guessing not; that it only comes in when she's projecting her own issues about saying no and blaming them for it, as Hax says.

NFPwife

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2017, 11:25:34 AM »
"No," is definitely a complete sentence. I think the first time or two I might say, "I don't care for the nachos here" or some such thing, but then I'd just shift to "No." I'd then ignore the subsequent pouting. I had an acquaintance who would try pouting here and there and I treated her like a toddler in the midst of a tantrum, I'd metaphorically step over her and keep moving. She stopped trying that with me.

I read the column and the comments, and I thought Hax addressed a slightly different issue than the one the LW wrote about. The LW apparently did say no when the friend wanted to share a plate of nachos, and the friend got sulky about it. So the problem wasn't as much "How do I say no to something I don't want to do?" as "How do I say no and still make everybody happy?"

I agree that she needed to take the responsibility for her own decision not to share and not blame others: her friend for being a "bully," restaurants for serving huge portions, etc.

I wonder if this is a female issue, part of the "women should always eat as little as possible, especially around other women" mindset. One of the Hax commenters linked to this blog post: http://humbugbistro.blogspot.com/2009/11/3-women-enter-restaurant.html?m=0. It has the occasional naughty word but is very much worth a read.

Haha, too funny. I am not one of these women. I want my own, thank you very much, and I want a large enough portion that I won't leave hungry, and I don't care who is watching. But for some reason, people seem to think that tiny little desserts are for sharing. I am in Canada, not the U.S., and portions in restaurants tend to be pretty small. And then it's usually the waiter who decides I'm sharing the dessert I've ordered for myself, after others have declined, by putting the plate in the middle of the table with a bunch of forks.

I hate when waiters decide I'm sharing something! I feel like I look like a heel for asserting that it's mine, but I do. If I ordered it, I'm either eating it or have a plan for the leftovers, and I intend to have it on my check. The server shouldn't suggest, overtly or covertly, that I'm sharing unless I say so. (The worst was when staff tried to share everything from my soup to my hot tea with my dining companion. When they tried to share the soup, I'd said, "Sue isn't having soup." (We'd requested separate checks and I'd intentionally ordered a large to take the leftovers home to DH.) They tried to push the soup onto Sue. I repeated myself. Sue had to tell them she didn't want soup. Then, with my individual pot of tea, the server asked how many mugs we wanted for it. I said, "One," with an "Are you kidding me?" face and she looked at Sue and said, "Are you sure you don't want to try it?" I said, "I'm sure." While Sue said, "I have a drink" and motioned to her large, cold tea. It was absurd.)

Dragonflymom

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2017, 02:32:56 PM »
I noted in the letter that when she said no, the other friend sulked all the way through the dinner and basically made the get together miserable.  And I have had encounters and former friendships with people like that, who it feels like you can't say no to them without them making you pay for it in some way.  So I kind of get where the letter writer is coming from.  It's an uncomfortable feeling, being afraid to say no to a friend because you know they'll find a way to make you pay for it.  But for myself, I've found myself re-examining those friendships - a friendship where somebody will sulk and punish me to push me to not say no to them next time, and make me afraid on some level to say no - is not a friendship I'm going to keep anymore.  After a lot of help from this forum, with some of the more toxic friendships like this, actually.  :)  But if all the letter writer's friendships feel like this to her, I think she may need to do a lot of examining about who she's friends with and why, and maybe make some new friends who don't make her feel like this.

I tend towards the hinting end of things a bit, but can and will give a decisive no if somebody pushes for something like sharing food and I'm paying my own way - but I just hate and dread that feeling some people give you where they seem to punish you for saying no and sulk at you for the rest of the time you're together.  It makes me afraid of them to some degree and afraid to say no to them in the future - but now I'm at that point where if somebody makes me feel like that, they'll get the firm and decisive no to even getting together in the first place, so they don't have a chance to make me feel that way later on.
"By swallowing evil goats unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach"  Winston Churchill

gellchom

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2017, 03:27:31 PM »
Sure, of course it was rude of that one friend to sulk or otherwise pressure or punish the LW.  No one, including Hax, is disagreeing with that.  But the LW stated that she has already stopped going out with that friend, so her question wasn't about what to do about her. 

She doesn't say that her other friends do any of that at all.  She said, "Often when dining out with friends, someone suggests an entree she wants to split, and since I suspect my friends all know Id rather die than offend, Im often feeling pressured to agree" and asked "How do I politely handle these bullying requests without hurting the friendship?"

So Hax's response wasn't about what to do when someone, like that one friend, actually is bullying or pressuring you -- that would be very different.  She was responding to the LW's blaming her friends who were not doing anything more than just asking her if she'd like to split an entree for "bullying" her because she doesn't like to say no.

NFPwife

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2017, 04:21:32 PM »
Sure, of course it was rude of that one friend to sulk or otherwise pressure or punish the LW.  No one, including Hax, is disagreeing with that.  But the LW stated that she has already stopped going out with that friend, so her question wasn't about what to do about her. 

She doesn't say that her other friends do any of that at all.  She said, "Often when dining out with friends, someone suggests an entree she wants to split, and since I suspect my friends all know Id rather die than offend, Im often feeling pressured to agree" and asked "How do I politely handle these bullying requests without hurting the friendship?"

So Hax's response wasn't about what to do when someone, like that one friend, actually is bullying or pressuring you -- that would be very different.  She was responding to the LW's blaming her friends who were not doing anything more than just asking her if she'd like to split an entree for "bullying" her because she doesn't like to say no.

Agree! At the same time, I have to wonder if they know she hates to say no so that makes her more of a target for requests. I'd guess that we all know people who rarely refuse a request and we're more likely to ask them for something because they so easily acquiesce. I think that scenario doesn't have to have malevolent intentions, it's just easier to ask people who are likely to go along and get along and their "yes" pays off the interaction. All the LW has to do is learn to say "No," clearly, evenly, calmly. I agree with Hax that this is a low-risk way to learn the skill.

TootsNYC

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2017, 04:32:40 PM »
There are ways of asking that make it clear you have assumed that you are going to get your way.

Those might be what she's thinking of as "these bullying requests."

Dragonflymom

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #27 on: September 08, 2017, 06:19:07 PM »
There are ways of asking that make it clear you have assumed that you are going to get your way.

Those might be what she's thinking of as "these bullying requests."

Yeah that is what I was thinking.  Some requests from some people have a certain tone to them, where you just know there will be trouble if you say no.  And I found for me, a whole social circle I interacted with was somewhat like that.  And that kind of makes me wonder if something like this is going on with the OP.  She's clearly feeling bullied and pressured in some way, and has had a definite experience of someone basically socially punishing her for saying no, and I'm reluctant to invalidate those concerns given that I've had some similar experiences in the past til I started examining those friendships and deciding to make other friends elsewhere who didn't make me feel like that.
"By swallowing evil goats unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach"  Winston Churchill

Raintree

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #28 on: September 09, 2017, 12:23:36 AM »
Ridiculous. The LW can't even say no to a suggestion to share a restaurant item? There are so many ways to do this:

"Hmm, no, I don't really feel like nachos."
"I think I'll get my own."
"You go ahead; I don't feel like nachos so I'm going to order a hamburger."
"No thanks; I'm looking at the chef's salad for myself."

Bizarre.

That is true. She probably needs new friends. I doubt I'd want to eat out again with someone who sulked because I declined to go in on nachos.

She actually can, and she has done so--remember that she eventually stopped having lunch with one specific friend because -on more than one occasion- the friend sulked the whole way through the meal because the Letter Writer did NOT want to share the nachos.

miranova

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #29 on: September 09, 2017, 08:45:13 AM »
  Speaking for myself, I'm the opposite: I don't resent being asked for just about anything, but I absolutely hate being manipulated, even for something really small (so much so that I sometimes stubbornly refuse to take the hint and do something I would have been very happy to do -- I know, childish; I'm working on it).  But to me, that's what hinting is: trying to get me to do the thing just as much as asking directly, but refusing to take ownership of the request and respect me as a friend who will not resent the request and will say yes or no as appropriate.



This is me. 

If you refuse to use your words and ask for what you want I will play dumb all day long, I refuse to enable hinters.  But if you directly ask me for something and tell me it's important to you and I care about you, I will go out of my way to do it.  I just hate the stupid games.