Just Say No

You'd think I would be past it, and have taken some ownership by now.  But, I am always stuck for an answer when I am backed into a corner with something I don't want to do-but think I should.

Why can't I just say no?

I have spent the last ten years of my life reinventing myself, doing some personal house cleaning and getting rid of old personal inventory.  However, I still have trouble with those two little words.

Last week, I invited a friend to a family dinner party. We had not spoken in two years, and had recently mended the bridge in our relationship.  My friend was very enthusiastic about coming.  We discussed the menu, the fact she wanted to bring wine and were generally excited about getting together.  When I entertain, I get all worked up in planning the evening.  I want everything to be just perfect.

I received a call late Thursday evening from my friend.  She asked if I would pick her up.  Ugh...I thought, she drives, I am entertaining, why is she asking me to do this?  I felt put out.  So, instead of being honest, I hesitated and said yes.  She went on to explain that she would ask my sister to take her home following the dinner.  When my sister and I talked following the conversation, she told me there would be no room in her car to take my guest home.

I got myself in a pickle, it was overload.

I would be drinking and having to drive my friend back to her house.  So I called her back and made up a story about the fact that the dinner was canceled and could we make it another evening.

 Shame, shame, shame on me!

I am not a liar.  Honestly, but this didn't sit well with me.  What am I?  sixteen again?  Why couldn't I just tell the truth in the first place?  Now, I feel like a ground feeder because I have stooped to the lowest level imaginable, lying about something so trivial.

I have always had trouble with this; at work, with friendships, and then I whimper about unhappy I am having to do something I don't want to do, or something I think was an unfair request.

It has happened throughout my career, when I feel I am slighted or not respected professionally.  Instead of speaking up and saying "this is not okay,' I'd smile and swallow the indiscretion.  I still haven't learned that people respect people that tell it like it is.  Being a people pleaser gets you absolutely no kudos either at work or in personal relationships.

So, as I take a look at that personal inventory, there is still some house cleaning I need to do.
I am going to make a conscious effort to get comfortable with a two-year-olds favorite response:


  1. Good luck with the saying no. I do have to comment on your friends request because I have seen/heard it before. Take a bus, a cab or make some arrangements. The host should never have to pick up a guest or take home one is my opinion. In the circumstances that I have seen this it is all about them and their problems, the car isn't working well, I am unfamiliar with that area at night, I can't leave work until late, etc!

    1. Thank you, you have help me manage guilt I should not have had in the first place.

  2. I've found this strategy useful: figure out what your goal is, and then practice (rehearse!) saying the words that will get you there in a comfortable way. IE your goal was to not have to drive after dinner. Could a cab have been called? To say, "I would absolutely love to drive you but I will have had a few glasses of wine and don't see that well at night anymore." (Play the old lady card. I do!) If she couldn't have found another ride, it shouldn't have been your problem!

    1. Great idea...where I live, the police really are hard on even first offenders (DUI's). I have had friends be put in jail for less. So, I had a myriad of valid reasons. Truth is, I wear bi-focal contacts, and I actually DO have trouble with night driving...thanks for your comment!