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  • November 25, 2017, 12:03:02 AM

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Author Topic: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"  (Read 11388 times)

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Hmmmmm

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #60 on: October 16, 2017, 09:54:03 AM »
With my MIL, if anything, it's that her appetite is small now, so she doesn't want to waste the extra.  That's why I said it was okay to just leave what she didn't want.  Usually, I'll say, "We'll just take any extra to go," but I didn't this time because fries are one of the few foods that aren't good leftover.  With her, though, she does this whether there is a question of waste or not: she does it whenever it's something she thinks of as an indulgence or something and doesn't want to admit that she wants it.

Snip

I was just reading through this thread and your discussion about your MIL reminded me of my mom and to some extent, my MIL. But they don't turn down the fries because of fear of waste or wanting to put the responsibility on others, it's more of feeling like she doesn't deserve the fries if she is the only one who will be eating them. My mom was very generous to everyone else but always put her own wants last. She'd turn down the fries because she didn't think we  needed to spend the extra $4 if she was the only one who wanted them. As a young mom, I started doing the same thing. I'd say "Anyone want to share tator tots?" and get a "No, we want fries" and DH would say "go ahead and get the tots" and I'd think "no, we can save that $5 since it's just me who wants them." Took me a while to recognize the "just me" mindset and quit always deciding I wasn't worth the extra money, time, attention or what ever my need was that would require something of the rest of the family. 

We learned our mom would do this so we'd be the ones to suggest we share if we saw something that we knew she'd love but wouldn't order or buy for herself.

gellchom

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #61 on: October 16, 2017, 11:59:16 AM »
You know, I think that I do that, too.  Maybe not so much out of a feeling that I don't deserve it, but because it seems extravagant.  According to my daughter, it's the same thing; according to me, I'm just being economical/cheap, but let's not digress that far!  But thanks for helping me see it.

With MIL, she is not self-denying; she's if anything a tiny bit selfish (and also generous -- that's not uncommon).  With food, it's always something that she doesn't want to admit that she wants -- fries, ice cream, pizza, etc. -- especially, in fact I think only, in front of others she wants not to know about it or who she knows don't eat much junk food; she eats candy and cookies nonstop at home.  But when others are there, she wants it to be someone else's "fault" -- which I put in quotes because there's no "fault" about it; she's a grownup entitled to make her own food choices, and there is nothing wrong with wanting any of these things!  But she wants to scrape off the responsibility onto someone else that she consumes the treat.  When it's just that she thinks it's too much, we just remind her that she can take half home, and then she is happy ordering it. 

Sometimes it goes even farther to wanting to sound like she is doing a favor -- like saying "didn't you want to stop for ice cream" or saying she doesn't want to go to something she thinks would bore her "because it will be too much trouble for [hosts]." Sometimes we can even see it on her face that she's racing through her mind for some excuse.   :)  She's a very outspoken woman generally, but she just has gotten into this habit.

It's a little irritating but not a big deal.  I just try to do what she wants if it isn't a problem; if it is, I say no, and there's no recrimination (not that I let myself notice, anyway!).  It helps me to "translate" the manipulation that gets my back up and pretend that she just asked nicely for whatever it is I figured out she really wants.

The trick is finding the balance, which we do imperfectly but adequately, I think.  I know we are not going to "train" her to do any better no matter what we do.  At the same time, we don't want to let manipulation be so effective that we encourage it, either.  It's not going to get any better, but we also try not to reinforce it so much that it gets worse.

gellchom

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Re: Carolyn Hax on "I don't like to say no" = "You are rude to ask"
« Reply #62 on: October 30, 2017, 03:34:17 PM »
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.
I think that's very different, though.  I think I'd feel the same as you do, and most of us would probably have the same thought process: "Ugh, I really don't feel like doing that! ... but this really is an important project, and they really are desperate for help, and they are doing so much, which I appreciate.  I guess I can step up to the plate, too."  There are a lot of things that people do because it's needed, not because they think it's fun -- like donating blood, for example; I don't mind it, but it's never that I can't think of something I'd rather do with those two hours.  If I find myself feeling guilty, it's not that they are "making" me feel that way, it's because I know that saying yes really is the right thing to do this time.
 
So I think that when you say yes to that friend even though you don't exactly want to, you're not being a doormat, you're being helpful, just as you'd hope they would be for you when you're in that position.  (For that matter, sometimes we say yes to something like sharing an appetizer we don't really want just to be nice, not because we feel we must; that's not doormat behavior, either.)

I think that the amount of pushiness that's acceptable varies with the nature and urgency of the request.   Even though the friend desperate for volunteers is pressing, I wouldn't call it "bullying."  They aren't just trying to get their way, they're trying to get something important done and they really do need someone to help.  It helps not to do it for everything that comes along, only rarely for something important, and that you do your best to say yes when it's their turn to ask you to help with something.