Na'Lon (na_lon) wrote,

The Possibility of 'No'

Various people in my life - some of the flist and some off it - have been arguing about a variety of things. I haven't paid over much attention, because I don't have the energy to get involved.

But one thing that has crystallised for me today is that these 'arguments' or 'issues' or whatever have one type of flash-points in common: that of how to respond to a request from someone else, be it a professional or a friend.

My feeling is that a request needs to be treated as simply that. It is not an order, and the requester needs to be aware of the possibility that the answer to the request is 'No'.

No doubt that such a 'No' can upset or cause further problems, but it ought to be possible to say it. This can be done sensitively - no need to be defensive or rude about it. E.g. "I am afraid that I am not comfortable with [doing x]." Such an answer says, to my mind, "Please don't push me. Give me breathing space."

It might surprise me, or annoy me to get a 'No', and I think I would be entitled to such feelings, but I also ought to respect the answer - especially if a friend gave me that 'No' or a client. If I pushed beyond the 'No', I would be creating a barrier between me and my friend/client/student.

So - what am I saying? I guess what I am getting at is that some things might seem like a small deal to me, but to someone else they may be a big deal. But since I can't secondguess another's response, I need to be allowed to ask. And accept if the answer is not what I like to hear.

{Exits stage left, calls: "Marquis, could you please get me a drink?" Answer: "No." Thinks: "Shouldn't have posted all that..." Goes to fetch drink.}
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