Random Blog A Musing Farf

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

WHEN YES MEANS NO

Maybe I should have paid more attention in 7th grade health class. You know, the class where they separate the girls and the boys and teach the girls about things the boys have no business knowing about – things like menstrual cycles and pregnancy. It’s not that I don’t know about things like that, but I remember a key component of that class was learning that boys will want to have sex and it was the girl’s job to say no. And it is the saying no part that I think I have to work on.

I hate telling people I can not do things. So, as a result, I find myself pulled in a million directions and dread even the simplest activities- including ones I should enjoy. For example, I used to love teaching SCUBA classes and signed on to teach as many as I could. But, then, after being asked to take a few extras “in an emergency” I got sick of doing it and quit altogether. I have not taught in almost a year and only miss it occasionally.

Then there are favors which should be easy, but the people for whom I am doing it seem to think that if I am helping them out (say loaning them something or storing an item for them) that I should be the one to do the extra legwork and picking up and dropping off the stuff for them. Ummm, newsflash: If I am storing your belongings in my apartment, the least you could do is to drop them off for me. Asking me to pick them up “on the way home from work” is not going to make me eager to offer to help you again. And yet, I do it. And then I get mad.

I am usually assertive in real life and have no trouble telling people what I think, so I am not sure why the constant fear of saying no to people when they ask for favors. Sure, there are the favors you do to get ahead (like offer to pick up coffee for the boss) and the favors you do because you love someone (like lend Sister clothing), but then there are the favors that are really annoying obligations that turned from an easy thing (open up front door, store books) to a major hassle (get off subway three stops too early and attempt to lug books before giving up and spending $10 on a taxi). It’s not like I care if you like me more because I went the extra mile and my epithet should not read “Here lies Farf. She was helpful” but yet, I continue to say yes, when I really want to say no.

So now, I am leaving work in order to run someone else’s errands before heading to Mother’s for dinner. At least the one thing I am happy to say to say ‘yes’ to today is some homemade meatloaf!

6 comments:

super des said...

I have the opposite problem. I ALWAYS say no. This makes people think I'm a bitch. At least people think you're nice... if not easily used.

People in the Sun said...

Hey, nothing wrong with being helpful.

(Look at the comment above. In high-school psych. we were told people are who they think others think they are. This doesn't mean Ms. Des is a bitch, just that she subconsciously thinks she is. Now, Ms. Des, you're not a bitch. We all do what we can. Some of us, like Farf, can do more than others. No big deal.)

the domestic minx said...

I, like you Farf, have always bitten off more than I can chew and have willingly taken on others burdens, trying to be "helpful". It is an invitation to abuse of a good nature.
I am now saddled with unresolved feelings of resentment and anger. I say "NO" more frequently these days but am subsequently saddled with unresolved feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Go figure...

Perhaps "maybe" is the answer, or just lurk beneath the radar...

Chicago Frind said...

You lend sister clothing? I thought it was the other way araound. :-P

Suzanne said...

Bah! This is how I became such a curmedgeon.

jg said...

oh god, I wish I hadn't read this post. now I'll feel guilty if I ask you for anything!!!