Saturday, May 16, 2009

NPR - Saying No

I have a hard time saying no to folks when they want to invite me somewhere, do something or just hang out. I like being, meaning working and living, alone. I'm comfortable being alone. It's genetic to me. It's been there since childhood when I loved just playing alone. While my parents tried to get me into groups, like cub and boy scouts, music lessons, and so on, they eventually gave up by age 12 or so and left me to myself and my own devices.

So over the years I had to find ways to say no without being rude or mean or without being perceived as anti-social. To do this I finally came up with a normal response, which when asked I say, "I'll think about it."

That's it. And I've learned when people hear it after asking me twice they begin to get the point, and after the third time have learned not to ask again. In short it worked without being obvious. I came up with this idea from a friend who has a Japanese wife. I learned that in Japan clerks at stores can't say no, it's the custom and practice.

I learned when you go to the store and ask if they have something, and even though both of you know the product isn't there, they will continue to try to find it. You have to say, "That's ok, I'll come back some another day.", meaning you have to give them the opportunity to save face. It's simply respect for them and the situation.

It's simply being human and being respectful. What's wrong with that? It's not about who's right and who's wrong. There is no right or wrong, simply the choices we make, and we can choose to be human. And that's what I choose.

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