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Learning to Say No.

It has taken me a long, long time to work on this one. Some of us are really good at cornering people and forcing them to do things they don’t want to do.

Listen how they work...

“…ool, hey, can you drive Nana over to such and such’s place? I promise it won’t take long, and it’ll be fun… besides, you haven’t spent time with Nana in a long time!”

And then before you can get a good excuse, or protest going, they’ve started your car and practically have shoved both you and Nana inside.

And least we need to be reminded, Nana isn't the Nana who's easy to laugh and vibe with. No, Nana's the Nana who barks at you, doesn't want you to touch her, wanders around so you have go hunting her down... Nana is no easy quick favor. In fact, this Nana hates you.

So How Do We Say No?

The simplest way would be to Just Say No. But then, taking from the above example, we chose not to make a scene, make a spectacle of the situation and cause embarrassment or pain to those sometimes indirectly involved.

Skipping over the straightened tie, you know... the ‘excuse me, let me get back to you, I need to think on this a bit..’ here’s a few odd-ball effects I’ve picked up.

The Vacated Stare. This is a look that says it all. It’s a blank look that has a tendency to make many back up and rethink, ‘umm… maybe we shouldn’t ask her.’

The Potty Break. “Excuse me, I need to use the restroom.”
“Oh, but there’s one upstairs.”
Back to you: “Oh, no, wouldn’t think of it. I’m going over there/across the street/Sam’s Bar…” the point being to get out of there, calling over your shoulder, “I’ll be right back.”

The Meltdown. Now you’ve got to be a good actor or actress for this one. Get impromptu LOUD. “Is that my sweater you have on!?!” Now you can be five feet, a hundred pounds, and male, talking to your six foot, three hundred pound Aunt Martha, but don’t let it impede the act. Stay with it. “That’s my sweater! You never gave it back!” Depending on Aunt Martha’s temperament you may want to either get even louder and angrier, or break down and fall out in the floor, bawling out crying.

or if that doesn’t work, try this one…

The Mumble. That’s right. Just start mumbling. They’ll ask, “what’s wrong with you?” And you just keep on mumbling… turning around and mumbling as you head straight for the door.

or how about this one…

The One Little Favor. You say, “Oh sure, but can you hold me down. Just a thousand. That’s all I need. Can’t promise I can get it back to you, but if you could do me this one little favor, then I can take Nana over there…” (Now of course if you get the thousand, I say it’s worth it! Take Nana!)

Okay, so I'm being a little silly. But I bet someone is going to try one of these. I know I sure have.


  1. I think I learnt this only about 5 years ago when I turned 30. And I suspect that's because I met my strong willed husband at 29. Whenever I'd stress over what someone would say or think about me if I said no he'd say: That's their problem not yours....what's it to you. I think it finally sank in because I don't do anything now unless it feels right with me.

  2. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, Learning to Say No for so many is really hard, but glad one more has caught on. You're lucky to have a husband that supports you in that way.


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