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Saying "No"
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I'm the kind of person who has trouble with the word, "No." I'd like to think that in part, at least, it's because I'm a positive, active person. So when anyone suggests an activity, requests a favor, or expresses and opinion, my first inclination is to say, "Sure. Why not? Sounds good to me. I think that would work. I understand what you say and I agree with it."

But there's also a large factor in my "yes" attitude that stems from a reluctance to seem self-centered or indifferent to other people. I want to be part of the group; I do care what other people think; I want them to have positive feelings.

When I was younger, that would often lead me to make promises I couldn't keep. I would find that I had overcommitted my time and had to back out of things I had agreed to. I found myself agreeing with people to be agreeable, sociable, even when my private opinions were otherwise. I wasn't being honest; it would have been better to just remain silent.

And in the long run, agreeing to everything doesn't work. I finally learned to estimate my time and capabilities more intelligently, and to say that I'd like to do it but I won't have time, or it's a good idea, but I can't promise I'll follow through. And we will have to agree to disagree. (Or change the subject.)

Wording it softly eases the harsh impact of the unadorned, "No." My husband doesn't have the same impulse; asked about something, he will say, "No." Not "No, thank you" or "No, maybe another time." Just plain old "No." I have always felt that to be cold and rejecting.

But as I listen to people, I find it's just my interpretation. Lots of people say, "No" and receive "No" and think nothing of it, not needing it to be softened or modified in any way.

I don't suppose I'll ever be comfortable with it.

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