Learning to say no.

A couple of days ago I was shopping with my mom in one of our local malls and a girl approached me asking me if she could give me the last Avon catalog and a lipstick sample. I said yes, thank you. Then she started talking about how to become a representative, and she said that she could explain me everything in a couple of minutes, just out of curiosity. I said maybe yes, thank you. I have friends who’ve done it and I always wondered if it could be something that can work for me as well. She started explaining, I listened to her and I realised it’s not for me. I am not in the place with my life where I can take this responsibility. No problem, you’d think. Well, the conversation wasn’t that easy.

Basically the girl slowly started talking and acting like I said “yes, I’m in”, she stopped using hypothetical language and went on telling me what I had to do to pursue my ‘new job’. She even started filling in a booklet I was supposed to use to take my orders.

Excuse me? I didn’t say yes. I said I’ll think about it. She didn’t even listen to me.

This sounds kind of passive aggressive to me. It all happened very gradually, first she was only telling me what she was doing, like a friend sharing her day, and then I became the subject and she was telling me all I needed to do, as if things were already set. I felt so trapped, I didn’t know how to stop her and I nearly panicked. I kept telling her that I’ll think about it, I’m not sure, I don’t feel I’m in the right position to do it right now, maybe later on, blabla. 

This is what I did wrong. I couldn’t say a straight NO.

It happens quite often to me. Not in very severe situations – in those cases I cannot care less about what others think, the most important thing to me is ALWAYS be safe and respect myself -, but I still get stuck sometimes with stuff like going out when I don’t want to, doing some extra work when I’m asked to (even if that messes my schedule up), and when I was in high school when someone wanted to switch turns for oral tests, I’d say yes, no matter what, even if I already had 3 tests on that day.

I think this all goes with my need to make others happy. I really like doing things for people. I also like when they have a good opinion of me. So I say yes. I don’t want to let people down, I always want to help. The girl from Avon was nice, I’m sure she would have been happy and she would have continued being very nice if I became a representative. But I didn’t, and as soon as I got up from that chair saying “I’ll think about it”, her face changed, no more smiles and no more cute voice. She said bye and didn’t even look at me.

And this is what I don’t like. My subconscious probably wants me to say yes to everything to avoid reactions like this one. I never want a person to not like me anymore after something I refused to do. I don’t want my friends to get offended if I say I’m not feeling like going out, I don’t want them to think I don’t care about them and I don’t want to see them.

I am sure this is all wrong though. I believe I should stop forcing myself to do things I don’t want to do just because I want to please others. I am a strong supporter of putting myself out of my comfort zone to mature and work on my weaknesses and personality, to get better, but this is very different. This is respecting myself and managing my time wisely, doing things I’m actually interested in, choosing the people I want to hang out with, choosing what to do with my spare moments, which is all exclusively up to me and not anyone else.

Overall this experience brought me quite a lot of worries and uncomfortableness (the girl keeps texting me, I hope she’ll stop soon), but I think it was good for all the thinking I got to do because of it. I now know that sometimes people say stuff for their own convenience, and in those cases so should I. The girl was only doing her job, she didn’t care about who I was, so I should have said things straight in order not to waste both my time and hers.
I hope I’ll become stronger and start looking after myself as well as others.

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5 thoughts on “Learning to say no.

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