Author Topic: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?  (Read 10450 times)

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sparkysparky

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2008, 09:47:00 PM »
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The phrase is fantastic when it is necessary. Our challenge, I think, is really contemplating where the line of necessity is.

Yes, that is the whole reason behind the phrase.  To use when necessary.  Most people never have to use the phrase, (I've never had to)but there are some really dense people out there and unfortunately this is the only response you can give them without getting into a huge argument....

Not every situation warrants saying this, but sometimes you just have to when people don't pick up on the cues you've given them.


LJM

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2008, 08:25:40 PM »
Yeah, it's been a very long time since I've had good reason to use it, fortunately.

Unfortunately, back then, I didn't know that I could use it.

Shortcake

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2008, 01:29:57 PM »
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The phrase is fantastic when it is necessary. Our challenge, I think, is really contemplating where the line of necessity is.

Yes, that is the whole reason behind the phrase.  To use when necessary.   Most people never have to use the phrase, (I've never had to)but there are some really dense people out there and unfortunately this is the only response you can give them without getting into a huge argument....

Not every situation warrants saying this, but sometimes you just have to when people don't pick up on the cues you've given them.

ITA, I am lucky that the people in my life now are reasonable and will listen to a polite "No". They also don't try to argue down my reasons for saying no.
A few years back, I was involved with a very toxic group. These people would not listen when I said no. Their requests were many times very unreasonable.
No matter what reasons I had,  they would be shot down.
I would end up getting mad and having an argument with the person. The phrase would have been perfect in this situation.

"Carry out a random act of kindness, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."  Princess Diana

M-theory

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2008, 05:41:47 PM »
As a sub-GM on a game where people are constantly making unreasonable demands, I'm likely to never get tired of it.

bravewolf

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2008, 07:29:57 PM »
I will never be tired of this phrase.  Standing up for yourself and your household rules is hardly "childish and selfish".  I would apply those pejoratives to people who think it's okay to disrespect others and abuse their hospitality.

As far as family goes, the OP is apparently fortunate not to have toxic relatives or family members who take advantage of them.  A genetic link does not mean that a person has the right to be rude or abusive to another. 

Leather Lady

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2008, 11:03:46 PM »
I don't say the phrase, I use my own words to convey the same meaning.
"No, I won't be able to do that."
"The garden is not for dogs."
"The children cannot play on the porch."
Sometimes we forget that explanations are not necessary in some situations.  When it's non-negotiable, and pointless to discuss, "It won't be possible" means we aren't obligated to justify our decision under the permission rule, as in "No one can take advantage of you without your permission."  If you let someone do that, and then complain, you become a martyr.  I think the phrase is fine, as long as you use your own words to be clear and direct about your expectation.
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Shortcake

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2008, 10:21:35 AM »
I don't say the phrase, I use my own words to convey the same meaning.
"No, I won't be able to do that."
"The garden is not for dogs."
"The children cannot play on the porch."
Sometimes we forget that explanations are not necessary in some situations.  When it's non-negotiable, and pointless to discuss, "It won't be possible" means we aren't obligated to justify our decision under the permission rule, as in "No one can take advantage of you without your permission."  If you let someone do that, and then complain, you become a martyr.  I think the phrase is fine, as long as you use your own words to be clear and direct about your expectation.

Excellent point! I am going to try that!
"Carry out a random act of kindness, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."  Princess Diana

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2008, 10:56:18 AM »
I get that it's useful at time, but come on.  Every problem cannot be solved with "I'm afraid that's not possible." At least not in the real world.

... but it's just not always realistic.  There's always at least one such response when a poster has a problem, and I think it's dismissive and disrespectful to the op.  Obviously if "I'm afraid that won't be possible" were a valid option, the OP wouldn't be posting. 

Same with "my house, my rules."  The OP's are trying to come up with a solution that does not boil down to "it's my house, so you have to do whatever I say, if you don't want to, then just leave."  To me that's just childish and selfish. 

But that's the point, - I think many times the phrase "I'm afraid that wont be possible." IS a valid option, but the OP just doesnt see it as such due to whatever circumstances.  For example, if they have a close relationship with the requestor, they may be hesitant to say no to something they cant do, because they feel obligated to do it. Or they may feel obligated to explain why they cant/wont grant the request, and the answer may cause hard feelings.  This phrase reminds them that none of these things are obligatory. 

Or, it may be that they *technically can* grant the request, but it would put a hardship on them, and so they feel badly saying No.  Someone suggesting "Yes, you can actually tell Grandma that it would put you out too much to travel home this holiday.  It's ok, and you aren't a bad person for saying/doing that." is quite helpful. 

It helps the poster re-define what is appropriate and their boundaries.  And it tells them that it's ok to redefine their boundaries, even if this is a request they would have previously granted. 
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

Shortcake

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2008, 12:40:33 PM »
I get that it's useful at time, but come on.  Every problem cannot be solved with "I'm afraid that's not possible." At least not in the real world.

... but it's just not always realistic.  There's always at least one such response when a poster has a problem, and I think it's dismissive and disrespectful to the op.  Obviously if "I'm afraid that won't be possible" were a valid option, the OP wouldn't be posting. 

Same with "my house, my rules."  The OP's are trying to come up with a solution that does not boil down to "it's my house, so you have to do whatever I say, if you don't want to, then just leave."  To me that's just childish and selfish. 

But that's the point, - I think many times the phrase "I'm afraid that wont be possible." IS a valid option, but the OP just doesnt see it as such due to whatever circumstances.  For example, if they have a close rel@tionship with the requestor, they may be hesitant to say no to something they cant do, because they feel obligated to do it. Or they may feel obligated to explain why they cant/wont grant the request, and the answer may cause hard feelings.  This phrase reminds them that none of these things are obligatory. 

Or, it may be that they *technically can* grant the request, but it would put a hardship on them, and so they feel badly saying No.  Someone suggesting "Yes, you can actually tell Grandma that it would put you out too much to travel home this holiday.  It's ok, and you aren't a bad person for saying/doing that." is quite helpful. 

It helps the poster re-define what is appropriate and their boundaries.  And it tells them that it's ok to redefine their boundaries, even if this is a request they would have previously granted. 

Another great point!!!!
"Carry out a random act of kindness, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."  Princess Diana

gibsongirl

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2008, 08:23:08 PM »
IMO, "I'm afraid that won't be possible"  is a nicer way of saying "we/I can't do that for you"  which is what people say when they mean "we/I won't do that for you".  And what the OP misses is that you really don't need a reason to refrain from doing something/participating/letting someone in your home/feeding them/watching their kids/any other thing someone could ask that you don't want to do.  Another version is "It's not convenient at this time". 

My husband and I both have chronic health conditions.  One thing we agreed on is we don't force our families on each other.  If one of us is sick or we don't feel up to company for whatever reason, the person who wants to visit with family will do so, with the only explanation being, "Gibsongirl/Husband couldn't make it.  She/he sends her/his love and apologies."

Also, there is a way to be polite about use of this phrase, even if the use is retroactive.  My husband and I were about to have an argument once.  His best friend was over.  I looked at him, smiled apologetically and said, "Husband and I have to talk now, I'm sorry, but you have to leave.  We'll give you a call in a few days."  No hurt feelings all round.

auntmeegs

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2008, 10:18:52 PM »
I will never be tired of this phrase.  Standing up for yourself and your household rules is hardly "childish and selfish".  I would apply those pejoratives to people who think it's okay to disrespect others and abuse their hospitality.

As far as family goes, the OP is apparently fortunate not to have toxic relatives or family members who take advantage of them.  A genetic link does not mean that a person has the right to be rude or abusive to another. 

I am lucky, bravewolf, but my family, while not toxic, is definitely not perfect.  We do all adore eachother, but we're in each others business constantly.  I just cannot even fathom my mom or my sister wanting me to come down for dinner on Friday, me not wanting to, and simply saying "I'm afraid that won't be possible."  That wouldn't fly for even one second.  I'd literally have to say it, hand up the phone that very same second, and be prepared to screen my calls all night.  Annoying, yes.  Toxic, no. 


Aeris

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2008, 03:23:45 AM »
I will never be tired of this phrase.  Standing up for yourself and your household rules is hardly "childish and selfish".  I would apply those pejoratives to people who think it's okay to disrespect others and abuse their hospitality.

As far as family goes, the OP is apparently fortunate not to have toxic relatives or family members who take advantage of them.  A genetic link does not mean that a person has the right to be rude or abusive to another. 

I am lucky, bravewolf, but my family, while not toxic, is definitely not perfect.  We do all adore eachother, but we're in each others business constantly.  I just cannot even fathom my mom or my sister wanting me to come down for dinner on Friday, me not wanting to, and simply saying "I'm afraid that won't be possible."  That wouldn't fly for even one second.  I'd literally have to say it, hand up the phone that very same second, and be prepared to screen my calls all night.  Annoying, yes.  Toxic, no. 



I've been pondering this thread a lot laterly, and it occurs to me that first, there are different ways to say it, but second, there are actually kinder, smoother ways to say the same thing in situations where the person asking isn't really crossing some big line, or being toxic, or being too insistent, etc, but you still aren't interested in really giving a detailed explanation.

Like in your example, auntmeegs - let's assume you couldn't go to dinner for some reason you didn't want to tell your sister - but she's not out of line for inviting you to dinner, so you don't want to make her feel bad, or give her a verbal cut (which is sometimes how IATWBP comes out) - you could say "Aww gee, that sounds so nice. Wish I could, but I just don't think I'm going to be able to make it tonight..."

But then again, sis is probably still going to want to know why...

I take your point though, auntmeegs - which, if I'm reading it right is that there are situations where the phrase is cruel and unwarranted. If my mother called and said she'd like to come visit me in May, and I said "I'm afraid that won't be possible" and just kept repeating it, she'd think I'd lost my mind, then she'd slowly decide I hated her, and our relationship would deteriorate. But that's because in our relationship, calling and saying "I'm coming in May, what weekend is good for you?" is generally met with me going "Yay!! Any weekend... all of them!". So it would be bizarre and cruel for me to say IATWBP. But if I said "Aww, gee mom, May really sucks for me - what about June?" it wouldn't be a problem.

Or if my best friend called me sobbing, saying that her fiance had just walked out on her and could I please please come over - to say IATWBP would be insane, and terribly cruel. I think that situation warrants an explanation for why I can't come to my friend in her hour of need. But if I had a toxic friend (an old college buddy comes to mind) who did this every other Tuesday, I might use the phrase and not be bothered by it.

I think I've started rambling. But I stand by the idea that misplaced, the phrase can be cruel.

hobish

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2008, 04:16:13 AM »

I love it. Even if you don't use the words "I'm afraid that won't be possible," which i can't see myself saying, the sentiment is spot on. At work i use a paraphrase of it quite a bit. It can be blunt, and no one wants to hear it; but i find it a great way to set expectations.

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Twik

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2008, 10:10:52 AM »
First of all, I agree fully that you have to have sort "pay your dues" with family and friends. If you want support from them, you have to be prepared to support them as well, even times when it might be inconvenient, etc.

But there are times when you must legitmately say "No". And we've all heard people running around going "My toxic Aunt Serendipity just called, and asked if I can keep her twelve rotten kids and her pet tiger for a month while she tours Italy. And I'm allergic to tigers! Please, tell me what excuse I can use to tell her I can't do it! It can't be my allergies, because she'll just tell me to take antihistamines. And it can't be that I only have a one-bedroom apartment, because she'll tell me that the kids are used to sleeping in shifts. And it can't be that I have a pet rabbit, because she'll tell me that the tiger is vegetarian, but if I'm worried, I could just board Mr. Floppy while they're there...."

The point of "It won't be possible" is not that it's a refusal, but that it eliminates lying, avoids the hurtful obvious ("Yes, it's possible, but I don't want to do it for you"), and doesn't give the other person an arguing point that you COULD do it if you only put yourself through various contortions.
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ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Is it just me, or is anyone else a bit tired of this phrase?
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2008, 10:22:25 AM »
Like in your example, auntmeegs - let's assume you couldn't go to dinner for some reason you didn't want to tell your sister - but she's not out of line for inviting you to dinner, so you don't want to make her feel bad, or give her a verbal cut (which is sometimes how IATWBP comes out) - you could say "Aww gee, that sounds so nice. Wish I could, but I just don't think I'm going to be able to make it tonight..."

But then again, sis is probably still going to want to know why...

But I stand by the idea that misplaced, the phrase can be cruel.

I agree that misplaced, the phrase can be cruel.  But one part of this phrase is reminding people that providing explanations is not obligatory, even for loved ones, even for those whom you have a good relationshp with. 
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou